Think about signing up as an organ donor

It’s a good time of the season to consider a way to perhaps sacrifice so others might be saved.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson this week recognized April as Donate Life Month by visiting St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, the winner of the Transplant Center Challenge for signing up the most new donors among Michigan’s nine transplant centers over the past year.

St. John’s added 840 names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, with all nine centers bringing in more than 2,700 more potential donors.

That’s impressive and encouraging. Yet the sobering truth is it doesn’t match the more than 3,500 people in Michigan now awaiting an organ transplant, according to the state.

Still, every new name expands the pool of possibilities and provides hope that organs will be available when finally needed.

“One person,” Johnson said, “has the potential to save or transform the lives of 75 people.”

She was joined Wednesday by Dorrie Dils, CEO for Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue recovery program; Diana Kern, executive director for Eversight Michigan, the state’s cornea and eye tissue recovery program; transplant surgeon Dr. Kevin Grady; plus those waiting for an organ, along with family members whose loved ones donated organs to save the lives of strangers.

The efforts have shown results in Michigan: In the past six years, registered donors in the state have jumped from 2.4 million to 4.5 million.

That registry in 2016 yielded 299 organ donors that resulted in 876 “life-saving transplants and nearly 1,300 residents received the gift of sight,” Johnson said.

And perhaps a little bit of comfort for those whose lost a loved one, who get to think of a part of that life going on in another.

So, how can you or others become part of this effort? Go to your local Secretary of State’s office.

Since taking office in 2010, Johnson has worked with partners such as Gift of Life Michigan and Eversight Michigan to put organ donor reminders on widely used Secretary of State forms, enlisted social media and directed employees to ask customers if they wanted to sign up. Now, about 85 percent of people who register in Michigan do it through the Secretary of State’s office.

Those who sign up receive a heart emblem for their driver’s license that indicates their decision to be an organ donor. A new card with a permanent heart emblem is issued at renewal time.

So, if you’re not on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, go to or any Secretary of State office.

Daily News (Iron Mountain)