New Video Teaches Teens About Organ Donation

Ripple Effect

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Driver Education

Resources for Driver's Education classes

When Wisconsin driver's education instructors teach their classes about the importance of organ donation, they have the option of using a video created by University of Wisconsin Organ and Tissue Donation Services (UW OTD). The video features Kay Anderson of Waunakee, a longtime UW OTD volunteer who has spoken to many driver's education classes about registering as an organ donor.

 

Kay has had several experiences with organ donation in her lifetime. Her first husband, Mike Olson, received two cornea transplants shortly after they married. Kay herself donated a kidney to her son Kevin Olson, who has received a total of three kidney transplants. "Organ donation has been dear to me," she says.

 

She also has suffered the pain of waiting for an organ that never came: Her brother, Gordie Johnson, lost his life waiting for a heart transplant. "It means so much to me that people consider being donors because the gift of life is such a precious gift you can give to others," she says in the video.

 

The video is part of a larger training kit that UW OTD provides for driver's education instructors. In addition to the DVD, the kit includes a PowerPoint presentation on organ, tissue and eye donation; a list of Donor Registry frequently asked questions; an overview of the Registry written in Spanish; a one-page informational flier; and a roll of Yes, I Will Donate stickers students can use to remind themselves to talk to their parents about organ donation.

 

State law requires that all driver's education classes include at least 30 minutes of education on organ and tissue donation. Governor Tommy Thompson signed the law, called the Kelly Nachreiner Law, in 2000. Kelly Nachreiner was a teenager who died in a car accident just a few months after receiving her driver's license. She had registered as an organ donor when she earned her license, so her parents agreed her organs could be donated.

 

As Kelly's parents talked to friends and family after her death, they realized many young people were not aware of organ donation, so they lobbied the legislature to pass the law. Now, UW OTD distributes the kits at Wisconsin driver's education conferences. The kit and video are also available on UW OTD's website.

 

While UW OTD has been distributing a DVD since 2010, the previous video featured a staff member. Last fall, the program asked Kay to make a new video. "You can see Kay has a passion for organ donation," says Mary Nachreiner, Kelly's mom and a community development specialist at UW OTD. "She shares a personal connection to it on so many levels. Those personal stories make all the difference."

 

The video fulfills the 30-minute requirement for organ donation education; all instructors need to do is show it to their classes.

 

According to Mary, the organ donation education does make a difference. "At the Department of Motor Vehicles, it is the young permit holders who have the most percentage of 'yeses' when asked if they want to be organ donors," she says. "I think it is because of the work we are doing."