HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) joined the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Pennsylvania organ donation organizations Donate Life PA, Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) and Gift of Life Donor Program on Friday in spreading the message that driver’s license and identification cardholders can easily help another person live a fuller, longer life by registering as an organ donor.
“Potential donors considering adding the organ donor designation to their driver’s license or identification card do not have to wait for their renewal notices to take action,” said PennDOT Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula. “Making the decision today to become an organ donor can potentially lead to saving a life.”
April is known nationally as Donate Life Month. Additionally, Friday marked National Donate Life Blue & Green Day. During this special observance, the public is encouraged to wear blue and green – the recognized colors of organ donation organizations – to engage in sharing the donate life message and promoting the importance of registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor.
Many Pennsylvanians have answered the call to become organ donors, helping the Pennsylvania organ donation organizations reach a major milestone this year. Nearly 50 percent of current driver’s license and identification card holders are registered organ donors – that’s more than five million Pennsylvanians. Currently, more than 7,000 Pennsylvanians await organ transplants.
“Registering as an organ donor gives an opportunity to save lives – one individual can save up to eight Pennsylvanians,” said Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Cindy Findley while at the awareness event. “Every 10 minutes, someone is told they need a life-saving transplant. The department continues to encourage Pennsylvanians to register to be a donor and be aware of the impact organ donors can make on someone’s life.”
To add the organ donor designation to an existing driver’s license or identification card, visit www.dmv.pa.gov and select the “Become an organ donor in 30 seconds” icon in the middle of the page. Once the designation is added, individuals will receive a designation card that they must carry with them to affirm organ donor status until they renew or replace their driver’s license or identification card. There is no charge for adding the designation to your driver’s license or identification card.
“Registering as a donor is an impactful action and may impact others in ways we do not know,” said Priscilla Glusko of Dauphin County, whose son was an organ and tissue donor. “The person who received one of my son’s donations continues to live their life to the fullest and impact humanity in many ways.”
Driver’s license and identification cardholders, as well as registered vehicle owners, can also support organ donation programs by donating to the Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund at the time of application and/or renewal. Proceeds from the fund are used to educate and promote awareness of the organ donor program through non-profit organizations like CORE and the Gift of Life Donor Program. Pennsylvanians have generously donated more than $17.8 million to the fund to date.
Ron Gooden, a heart recipient from Allegheny County, summarized his feelings when it comes to others willing to change a life with their precious gifts. “Their legacy lives within me,” he said, “and that will always be respected and honored.”
As part of ongoing efforts to increase awareness of organ and tissue donation, video monitors featuring educational content are installed at 20 PennDOT photo license centers. For more information on organ and tissue donation in Pennsylvania or to sign up to become an organ donor, please visit www.donatelifepa.org, www.core.org, or www.donors1.org.