Feb. 14 is National Donor Day — a day to raise awareness of what it means to answer “Yes.”
Learn more about giving the gift of life with resources from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
The need for organ and tissue donors is urgent. The federal Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network reports that every 10 minutes, another person is added to the national organ transplant waitlist — with more than 120,000 Americans currently in need. By registering as a donor, you can potentially save the lives of up to eight people and enhance the lives of many more through restoring sight, covering burns, or mending damaged connective tissue.
How Do I Sign Up?
You can register as a donor regardless of your age or medical history. Don’t rule yourself out. If you decide you want to donate, the best way to ensure your wishes are known is to become part of a donor registry. Options include:
- The Massachusetts Donor Registry — When you apply for or renew your driver’s license or state ID, you are given the option to join the Massachusetts Donor Registry Organ and Tissue Donor Program. You can also enroll or update your donor status online at any time through the RMV’s website and find answers to frequently asked questions about organ donation.
- Donate Life — Registering with Donate Life places you in a national database so your wishes are known as soon as possible.
You can register for both the Massachusetts Donor Registry and the National Donate Life Registry.
How Else Can I Help?
In addition to registering as a donor, there are a number of ways you can help:
- Speak Up — If you become a donor, let your loved ones know about your decision to help spread awareness.
- Donate to the Organ Transplant Fund — The Organ Transplant Fund helps pay for Massachusetts residents’ uninsured costs from medically approved transplants. You can donate to the fund directly or make a contribution when you file your income tax return.
- Volunteer — Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) are responsible for coordinating organ donations in their local area and educating the public about the need for donors. Volunteers are a vital resource for spreading community awareness. There are three OPOs operating in the Commonwealth:
- New England Organ Bank — Coordinates organ and tissue donation in all or part of each of the six New England states as well as Bermuda. Volunteer opportunities include hosting tables at community events, coordinating awareness campaigns at workplaces, and light administrative tasks.
- LifeChoice Donor Services — Responsible for Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties. Volunteers can participate in a variety of public outreach activities at community events including health fairs and local parades.
- Center for Donation and Transplant (CDT) — Serves Fairview Hospital in Berkshire County. Volunteer roles include public speaking, helping at community events like the Celebration of Life picnic, and staffing tables at health fairs and wellness days.
Opportunities vary depending on current needs and may require training. Contact your local OPO for further information.
Organ donors save lives. Make the decision to give the gift of life — when you’re asked, “Would you like to be an organ donor?” say “Yes.”
If you have questions about becoming an organ donor, tweet us @MassGov or comment below.
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