Durham, NC – Donate Life North Carolina, in partnership with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, announced this morning that more than one million North Carolinians have been added to the NC Donor Registry since implementation of the Heart Prevails Law in 2008. As of November 30, 4,609,794 residents have said “Yes” when a DMV license examiner has asked, “Do you want to register as an organ donor?”
When you say “Yes” to donate at your local DMV office, a red heart is added to your license. This is a legally binding consent to be an organ and eye donor. Deciding to be an organ and eye donor means that you have chosen to make all of your organs available for transplant at the time of your death. Families are closely involved in the donation process, but cannot override their loved one’s decision, if they are the age of 18 or older. By joining the registry, your wishes will be honored. North Carolinians may also legally register online, 24 hours a day, 7 seven days a week at DonateLifeNC.org/register.
“We are grateful for the work of DMV license examiners across North Carolina that ask every person age 16 and older if they want to register as a donor when they get their driver license or ID card,” said Steve Walker, Chairman of Donate Life NC and Executive Director of the NC Lions, Inc. “Donors can save the lives of up to 8 people through organ donation and enhance the lives of up to 50 people through cornea and tissue donation, giving the gifts of sight and mobility.”
Nearly 124,000 Americans are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. In 2013, 954 North Carolinians received a life-saving transplant, yet there are still 3,198 people on an active waiting list.
“Every person that registers as a donor provides hope to those waiting for the gift of life. Saying “yes” to being a donor is easy, free and heroic to those who are waiting,” said Sharon Hirsch, Executive Director of Donate Life NC. “Organ donors leave an extraordinary legacy of generosity, life and hope – the kinds of gifts we particularly celebrate during the holiday season. This is true for people like Will who can breathe today, like Althea, Delores, Kaaren and countless others who are free of dialysis, for Bobby and Jim who have new hearts that are allowing them to live full lives.”
“We are proud to continue our positive and growing partnership with Donate Life NC,” said DMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas. “Choosing to become an organ donor is a significant decision and one that has saved countless lives. Registering one million donors is a great achievement and we look forward to signing up millions more in the future.”
“We are grateful not only to DMV staff and leadership for their critical role in asking residents to register as donors, we are also thankful for NC General Assembly’s passage of the Heart Prevails Law, particularly to its primary sponsor, former House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell. Their leadership and vision has enabled us to register more than one million North Carolinians and save more than 5,400 lives in North Carolina through the miracle of organ transplantation,” said Hirsch.
Speaking at the event, Assistant Secretary of Commerce–DES Dale Folwell said, “As a donor advocate, I am extremely pleased with the five year results of the 2008 Heart Prevails legislation . “But for” the votes of my former NC General Assembly colleagues, the DMV Examiners across North Carolina and the media we would not be celebrating a 58% increase in donations and our one millionth new organ designee. Lives are being saved and quality of life is enhanced because North Carolinians are saying yes to organ donation.”
Hirsch reminds North Carolinians “that the gift of life is the greatest gift–for those who have received a transplant, but especially for those waiting, it far exceeds anything that could be found under a tree. For those spending hours on dialysis, for those carrying oxygen tanks behind them, for those who can’t walk a flight of stairs because their heart is too weak, those of you who register as donors provide hope. We have two questions for those who have not yet registered: “if you needed a transplant, would you have one?” and, if so, “what are YOU waiting for?” Register your wishes today.”