Detroit/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on April 17, 2024
Michigan Rallies for More Organ Donors During National Donate Life MonthSource: Laurel L. Russwurm from Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As April marks National Donate Life Month, Michigan is spotlighting the critical need for organ donors in the state. As reported by ClickOnDetroit, with over 100,000 individuals nationally on the organ transplant waiting list, every registered organ donor has the potential to save up to eight lives and improve more than a hundred more through tissue and eye donations.

Gift of Life Michigan, leading the charge, is hosting community events to warm the hearts—figuratively and literally—with blanket-making parties for donor families and teaming up with state officials to push for awareness. CEO Dorrie Dils said in a WOODTV interview, "As many as opportunities as we can to raise awareness about the need for organ and tissue donation and the opportunity to sign up in the Michigan Organ Donor Registry." The organization is also supporting legislation aimed at educating ninth graders about organ donation, a crucial step as teenage registration rates in Michigan lag behind surrounding states that have already implemented such programs.

Michigan currently stands with around 57% of adults registered as donors, placing it in the middle compared to other states. According to WOODTV, some states boast a 70% registration rate. Dils points out a significant gap, "We know when we talk to people, that they want to be donors, they just haven't taken that extra step to sign up." Encouraging this step has led to innovative avenues, such as including a donor sign-up option on state tax forms – a first in the nation.

ABC12 reports that Jocelyn Benson, Michigan's Secretary of State, is collaborating with Gift of Life Michigan to promote this cause among youth. At an event held in Grand Blanc High School, Benson emphasized the importance of educating young people to make informed decisions about organ donation as they reach the age for obtaining a driver's license. Homing in on education, Dils mentioned to ABC12, "The surrounding states, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, all have state requirement that 9th graders receive one hour of education about organ and tissue donation," spotlighting a deficit in Michigan's current system.

Michigan residents can register as organ donors through the Michigan Secretary of State's Office either online or in person. The collective effort of non-profits and public officials this month underscores a persistent and vital call to action – one that hinges on the simple act of saying "yes" to donation and could one day result in life-saving miracles for patients across the state and country.