What do New York City & Donate Life Texas have in common?

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They both have more than 8 million people!

That’s right! The Donate Life Texas donor registry will kick off 2016 celebrating the more than 8 million people who have signed up to save lives as organ, eye and tissue donors.

Since it was created in 2005, the Donate Life Texas (DLT) donor registry has been steadily growing thanks to generous Texans who understand the lifesaving difference each donor makes to the lives of those in need of a transplant.  Registering with DLT provides the legal consent for donation and is an easy and convenient way for people to make their decision to donate known after they pass away.

Building anything on this scale takes the work of multitudes of dedicated people. DLT relies several partners who each play a critical role in making donor registration easy and convenient.

Texas Lawmakers
The donor registry was created by and remains part of Texas state statutes. During the most recent session, Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Dist. 21)  and Rep. John Zerwas M.D. (R – Dist. 28) championed legislation that will, among other things, allow DLT to use mobile technology to register more people more quickly and in more places than ever before.  This exciting program launches January 1, 2016, so watch for more details coming soon.

The bill was also supported by Rep. Patricia Harless (R – Dist. 126), Rep. Celia Isreal (D – Dist. 50), Sen. Van Taylor (R – Dist. 8) and was signed by Governor Greg Abbott.

Texas Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division
Each and every Texan who applies for or renews a state driver license or ID card will be given the opportunity to register with Donate Life Texas as a donor.  This single step relies on the support hundreds of DPS employees and is responsible for roughly 97% of all donor registrations.

Donor Family Members, Transplant Recipients, Living Donors & Other Advocates
From health fairs and community events to school rooms and beyond, an army of volunteer advocates are essential to educating the public about the need for donation and the importance of registration.

Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), Eye and Tissue Banks
In Texas, 13 Donate Life Texas organizations perform the organ, eye and tissue recovery procedures. These dedicated professionals are also the ones who work closely with donor families to guide them through the process of their loved one’s donation.

8 million registered donors is a lifesaving start.

Last year, hundreds of people received organ transplants thanks to registered donors in Texas.  In 2015, nearly 3,500 were given the gift of sight through cornea and ocular tissue transplants from Texas donors.  And, each year in the U.S., more than a million people receive donor tissue for a wide variety of medical needs ranging from orthopedic surgery to burn recovery.

Having 8 million registered donors in Texas helps make these medical miracles possible, but we still have more to do.  Simply put: The number of people needing transplants is growing.  The number of donors is not.

Thanks to medical breakthroughs, more more lives than ever can be saved by treatments that rely on donor organs and tissues.  Also, the growing prevalence of diabetes and heart disease have increased the number of people on the organ transplant waiting list since these conditions can often only be cured by a transplant.

However, also due to medical advances, fewer people are passing away from stroke and traumatic brain injury, the two most common causes of death which allow organ donation to occur. In fact, fewer than 2% of all deaths occur in ways that allow for organ donation.  Of the 178,000+ people who passed away in Texas in 2013, only about 3,500 were potentially eligible for organ donation.  This number then drops even further if consent is denied or if the organs are not clinically viable for transplantation.

Donor registration matters!

Registering with Donate Life Texas records a person’s legally-binding decision to be a donor so it can be known by the right people at the right time to save lives.  In the simplest terms, donor registration helps ensure that no medically-viable organ or tissue is lost from a willing donor due to lack of consent.

So, how can you help?

  • Resolve to talk with your friends and family about donation and encourage them to register.
  • Find a Donate Life Texas Organization in your area and become a volunteer advocate.
  • Make a financial gift to support the Donate Life Texas donor registry.
  • Contact your state lawmaker to thank them for supporting Donate Life Texas legislation.
  • Share your Donate Life Story on the Donate Life Texas website.
  • When applying for or renewing your driver license or ID, tell the DPS office staff why donation is important to you.

Most of all, THANK YOU for registering to Donate Life!  Each of us are one in 8 million, but to the person waiting for a transplant, you could be their one Donor Hero.