New Online Registry Makes it Easy to be an Organ Donor

MADISON - While the well-known orange organ-donation dot on Wisconsin drivers licenses has been around since 1971, it didn't guarantee a person's wishes would be honored.


Now, an easy and secure online donor registry allows individuals to legally declare their wish to be an organ, tissue and eye donor, and helps ensure those wishes are honored.


The , was announced in a ceremony at the State Capitol that included Wisconsin's first lady, Jessica Doyle.


"The governor and I are so proud of Wisconsin's generous and giving record," said Mrs. Doyle. "Over 2 million of us, or over 50 percent of all adults in Wisconsin have expressed our willingness to be a donor with an orange dot placed on the license. This Web site makes it even easier and better."


A long-time champion of organ donation, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk joined Mrs. Doyle in announcing the new registry. Falk was instrumental in helping to establish a paid-time off policy for county employees to donate an organ. Dane County is the first county in the state to do so.


UW Health joins the county in offering paid time off for employees to donate organs.  As the home to the third largest transplant programin the nation, UW Health recognizes the impact that organ donation can have on a life.

Wisconsin's State Capitol Building lit with orange lights
Orange lights will grace the Wisconsin State Capitol building the first two weeks of April to help promote awareness of organ donation and the new registry.


"It's a wonderful day for all of us in Wisconsin," commented Donna Katen-Bahensky, UW Hospital and Clinics president and CEO.


There are more than 106,000 individuals across the nation, and more than 1,500 in Wisconsin awaiting an organ donation. A few years ago, three-year-old Reja Von Klapp was one of those on the waiting list.


Shortly after Reja was born, her parents learned that she had a rare liver disease. The doctors told them that Reja needed a transplant or might not live to her first birthday. As the family waited for news about a donor match, Reja's parents did a lot of personal research.


"We were shocked to find out how few donors there were," commented Renae Von Klopp, Reja's mother.


Reja finally received a transplant in December 2006.


"You can and will make a difference in someone's life," said Von Klopp, as she addressed those gathered for the online registry ceremony. "Someone like Reja who is happy, energetic, a little three-year-old with a bunch of energy and just a little spitfire and that is because of her organ donor family."


Every 11 minutes a new name is added to the national waiting list for organ transplant. Yet a single donor can help more than 50 different individuals.


"It means the difference between life and death for far too many in our state who continue to wait," concluded Dr. Seth Foley, Wisconsin's state health officer, referring to the online registry.


At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mrs. Doyle, Falk and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Executive Director Jim Haney were the first to register with the online registry. To register your intent, or to find out more, visit the Donate Life Wisconsin/Donor Registry.

Date Published: 03/30/2010

News tag(s):  transplantopoouruwhealth

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