Donate Life Florida (DLF), a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the public to save and enhance lives through organ, tissue and eye donation, announced a new record today. Ten million Floridians have signed up as donors through Florida’s Joshua Abbott Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, the third largest in the nation.
“We definitely want to pause for a moment and celebrate this wonderful achievement, but we also want to remember that we still have so much work to do,” says Christopher Carroll, Executive Director of Donate Life Florida. “There are approximately 115,000 people on America’s national organ transplant waiting list. We are asking more people to say, ‘Yes!’ and join Florida’s organ and tissue donor registry to help meet this need that continues to grow.”
The strength of Florida’s donor registry is due in large part to the work of the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and Florida tax collector offices, where residents completing driver license transactions can sign up. Because of this partnership, 95 percent of the state’s 10 million registered organ donors have come through the state’s tax collectors and DHSMV.
Since the registry was established in 1997 – donors who had registered prior to death made possible nearly 37,000 life-saving transplant surgeries in Florida. They helped heal even more through tissue donation. Their actions give hope to thousands of Floridians who are waiting today for organ, tissue and eye donation.
“We believe that, if more people in Florida understand how enormous the need is for the gift of life, then more of them will join the registry,” says Betsy Edwards, Senior Public Affairs Coordinator for LifeLink Foundation and Donate Life Florida Chairperson. “We have put incredible effort into educating the public so more people understand the need and want to join the registry. Florida tax collector and DHSMV offices make it easy to sign up. Helping residents understand and decide they want to sign up has been our focus, and that clearly is paying off. As long as there are people waiting for organ and tissue donations, we will continue.”
“As West Florida’s federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO), LifeLink of Florida is honored to be a member program of Donate Life Florida and excited to join together with all of Florida’s OPOs, tissue and eye banks to celebrate reaching this impressive milestone of 10 million registered donors in Florida,” says Liz Lehr, LifeLink of Florida Executive Director. “To accomplish our mission of providing a transplant for every patient who needs one, we will have to keep working. This milestone encourages us all to do just that.”