Michigan is behind other states in educating youth about donation

High school students holding plastinated organs as part of GIft of Life's All of Us youth education program

New legislation would teach all ninth graders the basics

A new state bill requiring a one-hour organ donation presentation for ninth graders in Michigan public schools is up for consideration in the Michigan House of Representatives this spring.

That will begin the legislative review process to potentially add Michigan to a list of other states already providing donation education in schools. The Organ Donor Youth Education Bill was introduced in October by state Rep. Felicia Brabec (Pittsfield Township).

High school students wear glasses that mimic the need for a cornea transplantOhio, Indiana, Illinois and many other states already require education about donation in public schools.

Michigan doesn’t and — as a result — just one in five new drivers (21%) registered as organ donors last year. Rates in other states were double that.

This state’s teens aren’t less generous, they simply lack education about donation and the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. If Michigan could match the new driver registration rate of other states, we would see tens of thousands more young people added annually to the all-important Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

All of Us traveling trunkGift of Life is striving to reach a point when no Michigander dies waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Growing the Donor Registry is the best way to achieve that. About 2,500 patients in Michigan are waiting today and 16,000 kidney patients are lingering on dialysis.

Last year, Gift of Life’s public educators presented the award-winning All of Us high school education program to more than 33,000 students in 362 of the state’s 1,870 high schools. Because there’s no required education, Gift of Life can only visit schools that request the free program.

Gift of Life provides in-person education to any public school in Michigan. The program is also available in a kit for teachers to present on their own.

How you can help:

Gift of Life is encouraging donation advocates to write in favor of the Organ Donor Youth Education bill.

Letters of support can be sent to:

Claudia Schaafsma, Legislative Director
State Rep. Felicia Brabec
[email protected]

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