APRIL 17, 2012
Leaders pledge to build on historic 2011 gains and
residents to "Join the Team" by signing up on Organ Donor Registry
FLINT, Mich. - In honor of Donate Life Month, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson
and organ donation advocates came together today to urge residents to "Join the
Team" by signing up to become organ, tissue and eye donors.
Johnson was joined by representatives from Gift of Life Michigan, the
Michigan Eye-Bank, and Wolverines for Life at the Flint Area SUPER!Center, one
of the top Secretary of State offices for organ donor sign-ups where over 9,000
people joined the registry in 2011.
"We saw record-breaking statewide numbers last year with 400,000 people -- a
25 percent increase -- signing up to become organ donors and we must keep that
momentum going strong," said Johnson. "Donate Life Month provides the perfect
opportunity to renew our commitment and rally support to save lives."
"Every time someone joins the donor registry, they give hope to the thousands
of people in Michigan who need an organ or tissue transplant for renewed or
improved life," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. "We are
extremely grateful to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and all Secretary of State
employees who make it so easy for citizens to document their decision that they
want to be a hero to those who are desperately in need."
To increase awareness and encourage more people to join Michigan's organ
donor registry, this year's "Join the Team" campaign includes a focus on real
life stories, including that of 11-year-old Jai'Wan Davis-Harbour of Taylor who
has been on dialysis since he was 7 months old and is waiting for a kidney.
Jai'Wan's face will appear on posters in Secretary of State branch offices
across Michigan. To hear his story, visit
Additionally, Michigan Secretary of State office, Gift of Life Michigan and the
Michigan Eye-Bank are also helping to promote the Transplant Games of America,
to be held July 28-31 in Grand Rapids. More than 1,300 athletes who are organ
recipients will compete in a wide range of sporting events.
Getting the "Join the Team" message out is critical, Johnson said. She hopes
it will encourage the nearly 50,000 customers who visit Secretary of State
offices every day to consider becoming organ donors.
Johnson, vowing to improve Michigan's numbers, last year directed SOS
employees, time permitting, to ask every customer if they wanted to join
Michigan's organ donor registry. It resulted in record increases in sign-ups,
including a 62 percent last month over March 2011. Her other efforts in
partnership with organ donor advocates included the creation of an advisory task
force, educational efforts and reminders on widely used forms. She also
supported a new Donate Life Month license plate, available this summer, to
promote organ, tissue and eye donation.
"By changing the way they do business, Secretary Johnson and her staff are
helping create a donor friendly Michigan where the idea of being an eye, organ
and tissue donor is considered the norm and the right thing to do," said Lisa
Langley, executive director of the Michigan Eye-Bank.
Michigan currently has 3,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list.
According to national statistics, 18 people die each day from the lack of
available organs for transplant; however, one donor can save up to eight lives
and enhance the lives of more than 50 people.
Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry by visiting
www.Michigan.gov/sos or any Secretary of State office. Those who sign up
receive a heart logo sticker to place on their driver's license that indicates
their wish to be an organ, tissue and eye donor. A new card with a permanent
heart emblem is issued at renewal time.
For more information about
branch office locations,
hours and services, visit www.Michigan.gov/sos. Sign up
for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at
and Facebook updates at
Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a
customer service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).
For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau, Michigan Department
of State, at 517-373-2520; or Tim Makinen, Gift of Life, (734) 922-6055.