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Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, partners recognize April as Donate Life Month

Need for organ donation remains critical despite coronavirus challenges

LANSING — In recognition of national Donate Life Month, the annual call to action for organ, tissue and eye donation, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and statewide registry partners encourage everyone to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Although some transplant surgeries have been put on hold during the COVID-19 crisis, the surgeries continue for the most ill patients, and the need for more will be critical once the pandemic subsides.

“It can be easy during a crisis like the one the world is facing right now to feel helpless, and wonder what more you could be doing, but the truth is many of the most important contributions any of us can make are simple,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “One of the easiest things is to sign up to be an organ donor. In spite of everything else we’re facing that need still remains great, and making the commitment today to join the registry is a contribution that lasts a lifetime.”

In the U.S. a new person is added to the transplant wait list every 10 minutes, with nearly 2,800 Michigan residents waiting. Yet a single donor can help up to 75 people. Approximately 85 percent of people who join the registry in Michigan sign up to do so through the Secretary of State’s offices or website.

“This is obviously a very trying time in our history. We are facing an unprecedented health emergency in our state, across the country and around the world,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue donation program. “The need for donors still exists, even in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are still thousands of people who are desperate to receive these gifts, and anyone, regardless of age or health history, can give them hope by signing up to be an organ, tissue and eye donor. We salute our partners in healthcare for continuing to work during this crisis and are grateful to the Secretary of State and others who continue to support our mission of honoring life through donation.”

“Thousands of patients in need of organ, eye and tissue transplants are enduring this crisis with failing eyesight and worsening health,” said David Bosch, President/CEO of Eversight, the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit organization that works to restore sight and prevent blindness through donation, transplantation and research. “Your decision to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry offers incredible hope for all of them.”

Those who join the registry receive a heart emblem for their driver’s license that indicates their decision to be an organ, tissue and eye donor. Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry by visiting

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