April is National Donate Life Month. It is a time each year to celebrate the lives of those who were saved by a transplant, recognize those who are still in need, honor those who have donated, and thank the ones who are registered organ donors.
Many families throughout our country have benefited from organ donation. Indeed, in 2015, nearly 30,000 people got a new shot at living because someone else donated a life-saving organ or tissue.
But there are still about 122,000 men, women, and children in the U.S. who find themselves in dire need of a transplant. More than 3,500 of them are in Michigan. Even though there are roughly 30,000 people who donate tissue each year, and despite there being more than one million tissue transplants, an average of 8,000 people — or 22 a day — lose their battle while waiting for a transplant. The need for donors continues to rise.
The good news is, more than 121 million Americans are registered organ donors. You may be one of them. While that is a great statistic, about half of U.S. adults aren’t registered donors.
Here in Michigan, we are working to make it easier to register to donate. In March, I voted for, and the Senate approved, a bill to help increase the number of registered organ donors in our state.
Lauren’s Law, as it is referred to, would have the secretary of state’s office ask whether a person wishes to be added to the Michigan anatomical gift donor registry when he or she applies for a driver’s license. I hope that this bill becomes law.
Registering to be an organ donor is simple, and it could have a lasting impact: one donor can help more than 50 people.
For information about organ donation or to sign up to become a donor, visit the Gift of Life Michigan website at GiftofLifeMichigan.org.
If you need to contact me, please call 855-347-7536 or send an email to SenWSchmidt@senate.michigan.gov and my staff will be happy to assist you. My website, www.SenatorWayneSchmidt.com, is also a good resource for information.
Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, represents the 37th state Senate District, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce and Mackinac counties.