Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson stopped by Gift of Life Michigan recently to reaffirm the partnership between the two organizations and set some lofty goals for the future.
Attending Gift of Life’s year-end staff meeting, Benson said she was pleased with efforts to sign up new donors to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, and added she would love to see 100 percent participation during her time in office.
“The bottom line is, we’re here as a partner. I’m energized and excited and truly honored to be able to do this work with all of you,” she told Gift of Life Michigan staff. “It’s a personal commitment, as well, to ensure that we’re able to continue to serve each other as residents of this state and improve people’s lives through this great service.”
Through outreach efforts from the Gift of Life and Secretary of State, Michigan added more than 330,000 new names to the Donor Registry this year. The majority of those registrations happen at or through Secretary of State offices, said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, which is why the partnership is so important
“It’s a critical part of our mission,” she said. “When the Secretary of State staff ask people if they want to sign up for the Donor Registry, they’re asking those individuals to be heroes, to say ‘yes’ to donation. They’re giving hope to the thousands of people who are waiting for organ and tissue transplants.”
Benson said she and her team would look at ways to expand the Donor Registry, from proposing policy changes to supporting new legislation and reaching out to segments of the community that are under-represented on registry. She said she wants to find stories of those whose lives have been saved to let donors know what their commitment is really about, too.
“It’s probably the most critical work that we do at the Secretary of State, because every day we’re saving lives in partnership with all of you,” she told Gift of Life staff. “We’re grateful for that partnership. It’s a priority for us to continue to find creative ways to build the registry and really communicate to all of our residents, all of our citizens, what a true honor it is to be able to serve as part of the registry, to sign up and say ‘I will save a life. I will give. I will ensure my legacy helps others live a full life.’”
Gift of Life has also made it a priority to expand its outreach into minority communities to educate people on the need for organ and tissue donors, break down common misconceptions about donation and encourage people to sign up.
To sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, click here. To learn more about Gift of Life’s minority outreach, visit www.golm.org/lets-talk. You can find information about how many people a single organ and tissue donor can help here.