Donate Life America Announces 100 Millionth Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor Registered in the U.S.

Donate Life America Announces Significant Milestone Achieved with 100 Millionth Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor Registered in the U.S.

New national goal set to register 20 million more by the end of 2012

RICHMOND, October, 11 – Donate Life America (DLA) announced today that a key goal set by the donation and transplant community in 2006 was achieved this month. The United States can now boast that 100 million Americans — roughly 42 percent of the adult population –are registered as organ, eye and tissue donors in state donor registries.

Growth in the number of registered donors is vital because the need for transplants continues to rise. More than 112,000 people are currently waiting for lifesaving organ transplants. Thousands more await tissue transplants to resume their normal lives. Last year, more than 28,000 people received organ transplants, more than 40,000 received corneal transplants and hundreds of thousands received tissue transplants, yet 6,590 died awaiting organ transplants. A surge in the number of donors is necessary to save more lives. Therefore, as the donation and transplant community celebrates the accomplishment of registering 100 million people, work has already begun to reach the new national goal of registering 20 million new donors by the end of 2012. Twenty million additional donors would result in saving thousands more lives each year. The public is encouraged to register by visiting www.donatelife.net.

“At a time when we as a nation have difficulty finding common ground on many important issues, 100 million people have agreed on their desire to save lives by registering as donors. They are hope for all of the men, women and children in need of lifesaving transplants today. For that, we say thank you,” says David Fleming, President and CEO, Donate Life America. “While this achievement speaks volumes about the generosity of human beings, more work needs to be done to motivate Americans to register and save the lives of those in need.”

In 2006, DLA launched the Donor Designation Collaborative (DDC) as a nationwide effort to improve organ, eye and tissue donation rates. A main tactic for achieving the DDC’s goals is ensuring that each state has an effective system for allowing individuals to legally designate themselves as donors. Since the DDC’s launch, there has been a 45 percent increase in the number of designated donors in the United States.

On average, nearly 8 million people join a state donor registry each year; a majority (97 percent) joins through state departments of motor vehicles (DMV’s). Therefore, DLA builds strong relationships with many DMV officials throughout the nation to encourage education and training of their staff to help them better advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation.

“I am proud to witness meeting such a milestone in organ and tissue donor history,” says Jesse White, the Illinois Secretary of State. “Our ultimate goal is to see that all Americans become registered organ and tissue donors.”

As the DDC works to increase the number of donors, the high percentage of registrations through DMV’s poses a new challenge to overcome. The majority of state donor registries were created nearly a decade ago. Once a registry goes through its first driver’s license/ID card renewal cycle (ranging from every 4 to every 12 years depending on the state), new designated donors come from only three sources – first-time drivers, new residents, and current residents who previously elected not to register. This maturity factor decreases the ability to sustain high donation rates through DMV efforts alone– a fact that necessitates new strategies to promote registrations.

“As we lay the foundation to register an additional 20 million people by the end of 2012, we are developing strategies to overcome the obstacles presented by maturing registries. We are not deterred by the challenges ahead,” says Donate Life America Chairperson, Helen W. Bottenfield. “Our primary goal is to preserve human life and improve the quality of life for those in need of organ, corneal and tissue transplants. We will remain focused and find creative ways to reach, educate and motivate those who have not yet registered as donors.”

As of June 30, 2011, data reported by Donate Life America state teams revealed 42 percent of U.S. adults (age 18 and older) are registered as organ, eye and tissue donors. States with the highest percentage included: Alaska and Montana (78 percent each) and Washington (74 percent).

The public is encouraged to join the 100 million individuals already registered as organ, eye and tissue donors by visiting www.donatelife.net and registering today.

Center for Organ Recovery & Education, University of Pittsburgh and Donate Life America Receive Grant

<strong>Center for Organ Recovery &amp; Education (CORE), University of Pittsburgh and Donate Life America Receive Grant for ‘Text2DonateLife’ Campaign</strong>

<em>– Campaign Designed to Implement an Innovative Call-to-Action Using Text Messaging –</em>

<strong>Pittsburgh, October 10, 2011 – </strong><a href=”http://www.core.org/” target=”blank”>The Center for Organ Recovery &amp; Education (CORE)</a>, a federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) serving Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and parts of New York, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and Donate Life America, recently received a federal grant to develop and test the effectiveness of registering potential organ, tissue and cornea donors via text messaging. The grant from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the University of Pittsburgh will enable the three organizations to implement “Text2DonateLife: An Innovative Call to Action for Large-Scale Campaigns Using Text Messaging” over a two-year period. The campaign will seek to provide a new way for a large number of people to simultaneously register to become organ, tissue and cornea donors using cell phone text messaging.

“This program will develop and test an innovative approach using text messaging to register organ donors,” said Howard B. Degenholtz, Ph.D., principal investigator and associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy &amp; Management. “By providing instructions that people can follow to register simply using their cell phones, it becomes possible to provide the means for a large number of people to simultaneously register to become organ, tissue and cornea donors. They don’t have to wait until their driver’s license needs to be renewed.”

“Nothing is more precious than the gift of life. At CORE, we are constantly seeking new ways to convince more people of the importance of becoming a registered donor,” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE. “We’re pleased to partner with Dr. Degenholtz so that we can explore new ways to spread this message. We look forward to the results of this pilot program.”

The Text2DonateLife campaign will be developed and tested with a series of collegiate athletic events through the duration of the grant period to test and refine best practices. Based on its success, the organizations hope to implement a text messaging call-to-action that could be incorporated into both CORE and Donate Life America’s marketing materials across their donor service areas.

For more information about CORE, visit <a href=”http://www.core.org/” target=”blank”>www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7</a>.

<strong>Contact:</strong>

Jeff Donaldson

412-642-7700

jeff [dot] donaldson [at] elias-savion [dot] com

<strong>About CORE</strong>

The Center for Organ Recovery &amp; Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated health care professionals to coordinate the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs and placement of corneas. With headquarters in Pittsburgh and an office in Charleston, West Virginia, CORE oversees a region that encompasses 155 hospitals and almost six million people throughout western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, NY. For more information, visit www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.

<strong>About the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health</strong>

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), founded in 1948 and now one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the United States, conducts research on public health and medical care that improves the lives of millions of people around the world. GSPH is a leader in devising new methods to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, cancer and other important public health issues. For more information about GSPH, visit the school’s Web site at <a href=”http://www.publichealth.pitt.edu/” target=”blank”>http://www.publichealth.pitt.edu</a>.

<strong>About Donate Life America</strong>

Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams across the United States committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate Life, and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries; developing and executing effective multi-media donor education programs; and motivating the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors.