More than 1 million North Carolinians have been added to the N.C. Donor Registry since implementation of the Heart Prevails Law in 2008, Donate Life North Carolina and the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles have announced.
As of Nov. 30, 4,609,794 residents have said “Yes” when a DMV license examiner has asked, “Do you want to register as an organ donor?”
When you say “Yes” to donate at your local DMV office, a red heart is added to your license. This is a legally binding consent to be an organ and eye donor, according to the Durham-based Donate Life North Carolina.
“Deciding to be an organ and eye donor means that you have chosen to make all of your organs available for transplant at the time of your death,” the agency said in a news release. “Families are closely involved in the donation process, but cannot override their loved one's decision, if they are the age of 18 or older. By joining the registry, your wishes will be honored.”
North Carolinians may also legally register online at DonateLifeNC.org/register.
“We are grateful for the work of DMV license examiners across North Carolina that ask every person age 16 and older if they want to register as a donor when they get their driver license or ID card,” said Steve Walker, chairman of Donate Life NC and executive director of the N.C. Lions, Inc. “Donors can save the lives of up to eight people through organ donation and enhance the lives of up to 50 people through cornea and tissue donation, giving the gifts of sight and mobility.”
Nearly 124,000 Americans are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, according to the news release. In 2013, 954 North Carolinians received a transplant, yet there are still 3,198 people on an active waiting list.
“Every person that registers as a donor provides hope to those waiting for the gift of life. Saying ‘yes’ to being a donor is easy, free and heroic to those who are waiting,” said Sharon Hirsch, executive director of Donate Life NC. “Organ donors leave an extraordinary legacy of generosity, life and hope - the kinds of gifts we particularly celebrate during the holiday season.”
“We are grateful not only to DMV staff and leadership for their critical role in asking residents to register as donors, we are also thankful for N.C. General Assembly’s passage of the Heart Prevails Law, particularly to its primary sponsor, former House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell,” Hirsch said. “Their leadership and vision has enabled us to register more than 1 million North Carolinians and save more than 5,400 lives in North Carolina through the miracle of organ transplantation.”