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January 07, 2020

Here's how to become a registered organ donor

Donations led to 33,000 life-saving transplants last year

Donate Life Pennsylvania is launching the state's first Donor Day on Wednesday in an effort to expand the number of registered organ and tissue donors.

There are 4.9 million registered organ donors in Pennsylvania, but that figure is not enough to meet the 7,500 patients currently on the transplant waiting list. Donate Life Pennsylvania seeks to boost the number of donors beyond 5 million people.

Here's how to get involved:

Pennsylvania residents willing to become organ donors can register here. To do so, they'll simply need their driver's license or state ID number, date of birth and the last four digits of their social security number. Residents of other states can become organ and tissue donors by joining the National Donate Life Registry here.

Donate Life Pennsylvania encourages people who already have registered as organ donors to explain why organ and tissue donation is important to them by posting on social media and using #PADonorDay. They also can help debunk common myths and misconceptions by sharing this explanation.

Other ways to get involved include donating to the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund or volunteering with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE), a nonprofit that handles the computerized matching of donated organs and tissues and coordinates their surgical recovery.

"By joining forces, together we can create a momentous impact and help make a difference in the lives of so many Pennsylvanians," CORE CEO Susan Stuart said.

Donate Life Pennsylvania is a collaborative initiative created by the Center for Organ Recovery and Education, Gift of Life Donor program and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Education and Transportation. They selected January 8 as PA Donor Day because one donor can save up to eight lives.

About 49.4% of eligible donors in Pennsylvania are registered. The groups hope to recruit enough new donors on PA Donor Day to surpass 50%.

"Last year, organ donors across the country made 33,000 life-saving transplants possible," Gift of Life Donor Program CEO Howard M. Nathan said. "If every potential donor was registered, it is estimated that the number of lives saved each year would double."

Several employers, organizations and associations across Pennsylvania are participating in PA Donor Day. Among the local groups: Independence Blue Cross, AmerisourceBergen and the Pennsylvania Masons.

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