This announcement originally appeared as a news bulletin from the Michigan Department of State. For media inquiries and other press requests for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson or the Michigan Department of State, please contact Michigan Secretary of State Deputy Chief of Communications Angela Benander at 517-242-9192 or MDOS-Press@Michigan.gov.
April 05, 2023
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In recognition of April as National Donate Life Month, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today joined statewide partners for a press conference highlighting the life-saving impact of organ donation. Benson was joined by Dorrie Dils, President and CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, Diane Hollingsworth, President/CEO of Eversight, Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lum) and Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Ann Arbor) to encourage Michiganders to sign up as organ donors and spread awareness of Michigan’s Organ Donor Registry. Armond Baskin, in kidney failure and in need of a transplant, also shared his experience at today’s event.
“The decision to register as an organ donor is the first step in a heroic act of giving,” said Benson. “Here in Michigan, we’ve made it easier than ever to join the Organ Donor Registry – anyone can sign up when renewing their license or at one of the many self-service stations in grocery stores statewide, or anytime through our website. We’re proud to partner with Gift of Life Michigan and Eversight to help them and our state’s residents save and improve lives.”
Approximately 95% of organ donor registrations in Michigan are made through the Secretary of State and more than 4.5 million Michiganders are already registered as organ donors.
Gift of Life Michigan is the state's federally designated organ and tissue recovery program and maintains the Michigan Organ Donor Registry in partnership with the Department of State. The Michigan Organ Donor Registry is a confidential database that documents an individual’s decision to become an organ, tissue and eye donor. Gift of Life partners with Eversight, a global nonprofit eye bank network headquartered in Ann Arbor to make the gift of sight possible through eye donation, corneal transplantation and vision research.
“One eye donor can give the gift of sight to two people, restoring independence to those who would otherwise be living in darkness,” said Hollingsworth. “The gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation are profound, and every single Michigander has the power to change lives by checking their heart. Join the donor registry, and together, we can save lives and heal our neighbors in need.”
Dils encouraged Michiganders to “Check Your Heart” and look for the heart emblem on their driver’s license that indicates their decision to be an organ donor.
“That’s really important because many people believe they’re registered, only to realize they aren’t,” she said. “If you aren’t signed up, we ask you to emotionally check your heart and join the 4.5 million Michiganders who have added their names to the Donor Registry. Giving life to others is an incredible legacy and there are so many people depending on us.”
More than 9,000 Michigan patients received a life-saving organ transplant in the past 10 years through Gift of Life. However, approximately 2,500 Michiganders remain on a waiting list and an average of 18 people across the country lose their life every day waiting for a transplant.
Michigan residents can join the Organ Donor Registry when they renew their driver’s license or state ID at any Secretary of State branch office or self-service station located throughout the state. Michiganders can also sign up to be a donor at any time at Michigan.gov/OrganDonation or at any of the SOS self-service stations across the state.
Rep. Brabec recently introduced legislation that would allow residents the option to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry on their Michigan Income Tax forms. If passed, Michigan would become the first state in the nation to offer this.
Sen. Daley, a long-time supporter of organ donation following his son’s decision to donate his heart upon his passing, also introduced a resolution to declare April Donate Life Month in the state Senate.
Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, regardless of their health or social history. There are no age restrictions to joining the registry. Anyone considering the decision to donate, regardless of age, is encouraged to discuss their decision with their family. More information is available online at Michigan.gov/OrganDonation.
Eversight is a nonprofit organization with a mission to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. The Eversight network is responsible for recovering, evaluating and providing human eye tissue for transplantation; supporting research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions; promoting donation awareness through public and professional education; and providing humanitarian aid to people around the world in need of corneal transplantation. Operating in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and South Korea, Eversight works in collaboration with surgeons, researchers, academic medical centers and eye banks across the United States and abroad. For more information, visit eversightvision.org.