The ad campaign features five Wayne County residents - all waiting for life-saving organ transplants. The spots were filmed at Detroit-area landmarks and will run on channels that include BET, ESPN, VH1, TBS, USA and ESPN. The first spots will air Monday, Oct. 1.
About one-third of the more than 3,000 Michigan residents waiting for organ transplants live in Wayne County, yet just 25 percent of the county's adults are registered organ, tissue and eye donors. That compares with over 37 percent of adults statewide (2.85 million) and about 43 percent nationally registered as donors.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has pledged her support and is asking residents to consider adding their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, a confidential database of people who want to give the gift of life.
"We are driven to help every patient waiting in Michigan have the best shot possible for a second chance at life," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. "Our collaboration with Wayne County and the city of Detroit to increase donation awareness and registrations will lend more hope to those who desperately need transplants in Wayne County, the state of Michigan and throughout our nation."
Wayne County and the city of Detroit have pledged to host the donor registry link on their websites and to reach out to their thousands of employees to encourage them and their families to join. They and Gift of Life have set a goal of adding 25,000 new Wayne County names to the donor registry by the end of the year.
“Saving a life is what the donor registry is all about, and there isn’t anything more important than that,” said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. “We encourage individuals, whether they live in Wayne County or elsewhere, to sign up on the registry and ask their friends and family to do the same.”
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing added: “The need for organ transplants is disproportionately high among ethnic minorities. We recognize the need to promote awareness and education about organ and tissue donation within the city of Detroit.”
“All of this attention to organ donation gives me more hope than ever for a transplant,” said 31-year-old Teresa Harris of Detroit. Harris, who is featured in the video campaign, goes to dialysis three times a week as she waits for a new kidney.
Signing the back of your driver’s license is no longer the way to become a donor in Michigan. Instead, you must join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry to receive a red heart emblem for the front of your license. To do so, go to www.giftoflifemichigan.org, call 800.482.4881 or visit any Secretary of State branch office.
Gift of Life Michigan works with hospitals statewide as the intermediary between donors and their families, physicians and hospital staff.