Saving Lives through Organ Donation

One of the less publicized provisions of the recently enacted budget bill is an important measure to bring attention to the need for organ donation and to support efforts to encourage donation in Wisconsin.

Currently, more than 115,000 people are on the national waiting list for organ transplants, including over 2,000 Wisconsin residents. Even more individuals are in need of bone, soft tissue, or cornea transplants. The organ donation list grows more than 100 people each day and many of those in need sadly do not receive a needed organ in time, with approximately 20 people dying every day due to lack of available organs.

It is encouraging that over half of Wisconsin’s residents are listed as organ donors. Western Wisconsin has some of the highest levels of organ donors in the state, with over 65% of St. Croix and Pierce County residents listed as organ donors on their state driver’s licenses or identification cards. While the commitment of these individuals is to be commended, the need for organ donation remains great.

I was pleased that one of the provisions added by the budget-writing committee to the budget bill creates a donation check-off for Donate Life Wisconsin on driver’s license application forms. Allowing individuals to make donations when obtaining their driver’s licenses, at the same time as indicating their donor status, will help support the efforts of this important organ donation organization. Under the budget provision, proceeds from this check-off would be added to the proceeds currently received from those requesting the Donate Life license plate.

Registering as an organ donor is a quick and easy process that can be completed through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) website at http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/health/donatelife/. The only information you need to register is your driver’s license or state identification card number and your last name. Individuals interested in becoming an organ donor may also volunteer as a donor when applying for a driver’s license or identification card with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV application form includes a box to check to indicate your preference.

If you have not registered as an organ donor yet, I would encourage you to take this potentially life-saving step to help others in need of organs or other tissue donation. For more information on Donate Life Wisconsin, visit their website at http://www.donatelifewisconsin.com.

I welcome your input and questions on this or other issues before the State Legislature. Please contact me by calling my office at 1-800-862-1092 or 608-266-7745 or visiting my website at www.harsdorfsenate.com.

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