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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2010
Contact: Matt Dunlap
626-8400

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Announces a New Online Donate Life Organ Donation Service

AUGUSTA - Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced, earlier today, the launch of the Secretary of State’s new Donate Life Organ Donation web-service.   He was joined by numerous organ donation advocates, including Ashley Drew (a 23 year old woman on the waiting list for a double-lung transplant), Patti Campbell (the mother of an organ donor), and Karen Knox (whose husband was an organ donation recipient).  Each of the advocates shared their personal stories and shared their excitement over the new service.

“This website and service is fun and easy” said Ashley Drew, adding “Who wouldn’t want to visit? I hope everyone will!” 

The website includes a wealth of information about organ donation AND it includes a new online service that will allow people to add their names to the organ donor registry with just a few clicks of the mouse.  This can be done at anytime of the day, from any internet connection (home, office, mobile, library).   

Secretary Dunlap stated “If you are a Maine resident, 16 years of age or older, you can help save lives by adding your name to the Maine Organ Donor Registry.  It’s free and easy – taking just a couple of minutes – to sign up with our new online service.  If you’re not sure if you’re a donor, it’s easy to check online using the same service.  Or, if one prefers, you can also sign up by visiting a Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch office.”

Patti Campbell told the story of her son Andrew, who died from a severe head injury at the age of 22, but whose simple yet heroic act of signing up to be an organ donor just months earlier has saved or improved the lives of four different people.  “I am proud that my son made that decision to become an organ donor, to have that little red heart added to his Maine license, before anyone could have imagined how important it would be,” said Patti, “Now, with this new online service, it is easier than ever for others to make that same heroic decision.”

Just one organ and tissue donor can save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people.  Tens of thousands of lives are saved and improved every year, because of ordinary people who took the simple, but heroic, step of adding their names to an organ donor registry.  But, there remains a large unmet need for organ donation.  In the United States, there are more than 107,000 people waiting for an organ.  Tragically, on average, 18 people die every day while waiting for transplants.

In Maine, we are fortunate that nearly 500,000 driver license holders have already added their names Maine Organ Donor Registry, yet there are nearly 600,000 who are not listed in the registry.  Until this year, license holders were only able to add or remove their names to the registry at the time obtaining a license or renewal or purchasing a duplicate license.  Virtually none of the 125,000 non-driver identification card holders are listed in the registry as they have not been able to add their names to the registry in the past.  Beginning this year, any credential holder may visit a motor vehicle branch office at any time to update his or her donor status AND now our new Donate Life Organ Donation web-service will provide all Maine credential holders with an easy online way to add their names to the Maine Organ Donor Registry.  As a result, the Secretary of State, along with organ donor advocates will be able to appeal to the more than 600,000 license holders, and the 125,000 non-driver identification card holders who have not previously had an opportunity register, to consider adding their names to the registry.  

“The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has had a long history of helping with organ donation, but with these recent changes and the new online service, we anticipate the addition of tens of thousands of newly registered organ donors,” said Secretary Dunlap. “It’s simple really.  There is a very real, unmet, need for increased organ donation.  Increases in organ donation will save lives.  This service will make it easy for Maine citizens considering organ donation to find relevant information and, if they choose to become a donor, to sign up,” added Dunlap. 

Secretary Dunlap and the guest speakers at today’s announcement are available for further questions or interviews.

The service, developed by the Department of the Secretary of State in conjunction with the Information Resources of Maine (InforME), the State’s web portal provider, is available at:

www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/donatelife

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