Michigan reaches historic milestone: More than half of adults are registered donors

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LANSING – Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today announced that the number of Michigan adults registered as organ, tissue and eye donors has now surpassed 50 percent and she credited her staff with helping to bring out the record-breaking growth.

Johnson was joined by partners from Gift of Life Michigan and the Michigan Eye-Bank at the Hamtramck Area PLUS Office on 8717 Joseph Campau Street in Hamtramck in order to thank Secretary of State staff and customers for their continued support of Michigan’s Organ Donor Registry. Other volunteers visited branches statewide to thank staff for their efforts.

“When I first took office, Michigan was near the bottom of the list nationally in terms of organ donors, with only 27 percent of eligible residents signed up, ” Johnson said. “Now, thanks to the hard work of branch staff, volunteers and other passionate advocates, we have reached the national average and registering as a donor has become a cultural norm. Every name means hope for the 3,400 people in Michigan still waiting for a life-saving or life-enhancing transplant.”

After she was elected in 2010, Johnson made expanding the organ donor rolls a priority but insisted that it be done at little to no cost to taxpayers. She directed her staff to start asking customers if they wanted to sign up, created a task force of leading experts and began promoting organ donor registration throughout her branch offices. About 85 percent of people who sign up do so through the Secretary of State’s office.

“We thank our partners for their efforts, and we especially thank the people of Michigan for recognizing that they have the power to heal lives by becoming organ, tissue and eye donors,” said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue recovery program.

“Secretary Johnson and her staff work hard to serve the people of Michigan,” said Lisa Langley, executive director of the Michigan Eye-Bank. “Taking the extra time to encourage people to join the registry is appreciated by all those who can see again, walk again or breathe again. We look forward to working with her office as we continue to grow the registry—one person at a time.”

More than 3,825,000 people are on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Every donor has the ability to save up to eight lives through organ donation and improve up to 50 more through cornea and tissue donation.

“People in Michigan are so generous, so caring and want to help others if they can,” Johnson said. “Every name on the donor registry means hope for waiting families. I’m so proud of our Secretary of State employees and their commitment to saving and improving lives throughout this state by asking customers to join the donor registry.”

Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, regardless of age or medical history. Go to www.ExpressSOS.com, call (800) 482-4881 or visit any SOS branch office.

For more information on organ, eye and tissue donation, visit www.giftoflifemichigan.org or www.michiganeyebank.org. To sign up on Michigan’s Organ Donor Registry and to access some of the Secretary of State’s most popular services, visit www.ExpressSOS.com.

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For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at 517-373-2520.

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