April 20, 2011

Missourians urged to sign up for organ donor registry

As the waitlist for an organ or tissue transplant grows, an increasing number of Missourians plan to be donors.

Currently, more than 2.8 million Missouri residents are registered organ donors, compared to about 2.3 million in 2009.

April is National Donate Life Month, and health officials encourage Missourians who are not on the organ donor registry to consider giving the gift of life. Missourians can sign up for the registry online at MissouriOrganDonor.com or at their local driver's license office.

"It's not often that a person gets to make a truly selfless decision that can greatly improve or save another person's life," said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

According to Donate Life America, more than 100,000 people across the country are currently waiting for an organ transplant, including more than 1,300 Missourians. Last year, 563 Missourians received an organ transplant. Kidney transplants were the most common, followed by liver, heart, lung, kidney-pancreas, intestine and heart-lung transplants.

"Missouri's organ donor program works by educating the public about organ donation and urging people to sign up for the registry," Donnelly said. "More people on the registry increases the chances that an organ will become available for someone who is in need of a life-changing transplant."

More information about organ and tissue donation can be found at www.MissouriOrganDonor.com.