One million new registered donors sought
Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s federally designated organ and tissue procurement program, launched a statewide campaign to remind Michiganders to verify their donor status and encourage them to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
The goal: adding one million people to the Organ Donor Registry.
“We know the numbers are there,” said Dorrie Dils, president & CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “We’ve learned that about 90% of Americans have a positive opinion of organ and tissue donation, yet only about 55 percent of adults are registered.
“That’s lower than many nearby states,” she added. “We can do better.”
The Check Your Heart campaign urges Michiganders to look for the red heart on their driver’s license or state IDs that indicates whether they have signed up on the Donor Registry.
“We wanted something simple that would resonate with people across Michigan,” said Dorrie. “Check Your Heart is a simple, positive action that anyone in Michigan can take. We strongly believe it will lead to a significant increase in the number of registered organ and tissue donors in Michigan.”
Legislation to create the heart insignia to signify organ and tissue donors was approved in 2005. The heart symbol and word ‘donor’ appeared prominently on driver’s licenses and state IDs when they were redesigned in 2011. Even so, changes to licenses and the process to acquire and renew them have left some potential donors out of the statewide database that is maintained by the Michigan Secretary of State.
“A significant number of people think they’re registered organ donors, but many are disappointed to discover that they’re not,” Dorrie said. “That’s why Check Your Heart is so important. We can get so many people to register just by reminding them.”
Last year, more than 290,000 people were added to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Increased numbers of registered donors translates into more lives saved: in 2021, 1,089 organs were transplanted from 429 donors, which is an increase of about 14 percent over the previous year.
Still, more needs to be done. There are about 106,000 people waiting for life-saving organs in the U.S., including about 2,500 in Michigan. Dorrie said she hopes the campaign will resonate with people on a deeper level, too, and encourage those who support donation but have not yet signed up to add their name to the registry.
“On a personal level, ‘Check Your Heart’ also reflects the incredible generosity of donors and donor families, and serves as a reminder that we all have the ability to save lives and help people,” said Dorrie.
We need help from everyone in the donation and transplant community to promote Gift of Life’s largest-ever campaign. It’s critical that we find new and different ways to reach residents not yet registered so they can document their decision to help others.
How you can support the Check Your Heart campaign:
- Ask your friends and family to check their hearts! Do they have a ❤️ on their driver’s license or state ID?
- Invite your employer, faith community, civic club, favorite local store, and other organizations to become a Partner!
- Follow Gift of Life Michigan on social media, and like/comment/share our Check Your Heart posts.