NEW PROVIDENCE — Today, New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd encouraged all New Jersey residents to become organ and tissue donors. O’Dowd joined NJ Sharing Network President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Roth to highlight the need for donations and talk with organ recipients and donor families.
“The holidays are the perfect time to consider the difference you can make in the lives of others through organ donation,” said O’Dowd. “Just one person can make a difference in as many as 50 lives. The gift of life is truly the greatest gift of all.”
Nationally, there are more than 100,000 people—including 4,700 New Jersey residents—on a waiting list to receive a life-saving organ transplant, according to NJ Sharing Network.
According to Roth, “Organ donation, once considered an experimental technique, has now become an established and safe procedure that has saved thousands of lives. Our groundbreaking programming, including the NJ Hero Act, which mandates secondary education on organ donation, is beginning to show results. However, there is still a critical need with only 32 percent of New Jersey residents registered as donors. We are confident we will continue to make progress at an expedited rate.”
Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. Last year alone, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Organ donor registration is available online or in-person at your local Motor Vehicle Commission agency. For more details, visit www.state.nj.us/mvc/Licenses/organ_donor.htm
“Once you register to become an organ donor, tell your family, friends and health care provider about your donation decision,” added O’Dowd. “It is also helpful to include your donation preference in your advance directives, will and living will.”
The need for organ transplants and the shortage of donors affects people of all ethnic backgrounds. However, the need for organ donation is greatest among African Americans and Hispanics because they have higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and obesity—diseases which more often require transplants.
Organizations interested in raising awareness about organ donation can work with NJ Sharing Network and Donate Life NJ to create public service announcements, sponsor press conferences, link their websites to www.donatelifenj.org and organize donor registry drives in conjunction with community events. For more information on working with NJ Sharing Network to encourage increased donor designations please visit www.sharenj.org.
NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally-certified, state-approved organ procurement organization.
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