SOS branch offices promoting organ donor registration

LANSING — Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced visitors to some of the busiest branch offices will have a new opportunity to talk to volunteers encouraging them to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Through a plan organized by Gift of Life Michigan, more than 90 people have begun visiting various offices statewide and will continue visits through Sept. 10.

“Every April, which is Donate Life Month, we work with the Secretary of State and partners like the Michigan Eye-Bank to promote the donor registry in the branches,” said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue recovery program. “But the need for these precious gifts is year-round. That’s why we are targeting this traditionally active time to spread this life-saving message among Secretary of State customers.”

The Labor Day holiday and the start of the school year contribute to a large number of transactions at branch offices.

This effort continues Johnson’s focus on expanding the number of names on the donor registry. In April, Johnson directed branch office employees, time permitting, to ask customers if they would like to sign up on the registry.

That policy has led to a four-month surge in registrations. In August, over 44,000 people registered as organ donors, up 40 percent from August 2010. That set a new record for the most signups in a month.

July saw a 28 percent increase over July 2010 with 37,153 people adding their names to the registry. June saw a 25 percent leap over June 2010 and May saw a 20 percent jump in registrations.

“Michigan residents have responded strongly to our call for more names on the Organ Donor Registry and August’s numbers are terrific,” said Johnson. “I’m so proud of our residents’ caring and generosity and our employees who have taken this mission to save lives to heart.”

Michigan is ranked 44th in the country in terms of the percentage of adults on the donor registry with less than one-third participating. Each organ donor has the potential to save eight lives and enhance the lives of as many as 50 patients.

Other recent efforts by the Secretary of State to increase organ donor registrations include placing reminders on widely used forms and on a checklist for customers at busy branches, providing additional links to the registry on more of the Department of State’s web pages, forming an advisory committee of experts to develop recommendations and encouraging donation via social media.

Any residents interested in joining the registry may sign up at the Secretary of State website at Signing the back of your driver’s license does not enroll you in the registry. — G.G.

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