Registered organ, eye and tissue donors in California have saved nearly 7,000 lives and helped heal an estimated 600,000 more people since Donate Life California and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) became official partners 10 years ago.
The DMV began asking driver license and ID card customers if they wanted to join the state’s official Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry on July 1, 2006. By the end of that year, one million people had signed up on the secure and confidential database. Today, more than 13.2 million Californians have registered their decision to be a life-saving donor — 95 percent through the DMV. The DMV adds about 20,000 new registrations each week.
“We do everything we can to honor the wishes of registered organ, eye and tissue donors,” said Monica Johnson, Donate Life California board president and executive director of Sierra Donor Services, the nonprofit organ and tissue recovery organization in Sacramento. “For families, it’s a comfort knowing their loved one’s wishes so they don’t have to wonder what their loved one’s choice would have been.”
“Less than one percent of people who die are able to save lives as an organ donor, so every registration is critical,” said Eric Burch, Donate Life California CEO. “The work we do with partners like the DMV is vitally important because the need is so great. Yet, only about 45 percent of Californians are registered donors — too many rule themselves out. You’re never too old to register and your medical history doesn’t necessarily affect your eligibility to be a donor.”
“The DMV is proud to be part of an organization that has helped save the lives of so many Californians,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Our employees not only assist customers with signing up to become organ, eye, and tissue donors, but many of them are registered donors, and others are appreciative recipients. So, our partnership holds special meaning for us.”