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Governor announces continued leadership in organ donation

Thanks donor families for giving the gift of life

Governor Jim Doyle last week announced at the 17th Annual Governor’s Gift of Life Ceremony that 2.4 million people have added an orange “donor dot” to their driver’s license in Wisconsin, meaning more than 54 percent of Wisconsin drivers and ID holders have shared their intent to donate. Last year, there were 205 organ donors in Wisconsin, and more than 340 people in Wisconsin received an organ transplant.

“Our ongoing efforts to improve organ donation rates in Wisconsin are having a dramatic life-saving effect,” Governor Doyle said. “Thank you to the thousands of Wisconsin citizens who have talked to their loved ones and made an organ donation pledge. As the need for organ donations rises, we must continue to raise awareness for this critical cause, and express our profound gratitude to the families who support their loved ones’ wishes to give the gift of life.”

At the Gift of Life ceremony, Governor Doyle thanked and presented medals to the families whose loved ones have donated organs. The ceremony, held at the Executive Residence, is hosted by the University of Wisconsin Organ Procurement Organization and the Wisconsin Donor Network, the two organ procurement organizations that serve Wisconsin.

In March, Governor Doyle announced the launch of the web-based Wisconsin Donor Registry. This new registry allows any Wisconsin citizen over the age of 15 ½ years who has a driver’s license or state ID to legally authorize organ, tissue and eye donation with the click of a button. This simple but highly effective tool is expected to help save or enhance thousands of lives over the next decade.

Nationwide, almost 108,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant. A new name is added to the wait list every 12 minutes and 18 people die each day because they did not receive an organ in time. Wisconsin’s two Organ Procurement Organizations team with Donate Life Wisconsin, a collaborative of organ, tissue and eye donation services and supporters to educate people about donation.

Madison will host the 2010 US National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games next month. More than 8,000 people are expected to attend that event.