The Maine CDC says more than 300 people in New England died last year while waiting for organ transplants.
According to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, 51% of licensed drivers in Maine have designated themselves organ and tissue donors on their driver’s license. That’s just a little more than 500,000 people. Dunlap was on-hand at an event in Augusta, trying to get that number even higher, telling the story of his friend, Minnesota secretary of state Mark Ritchie, who lost his only child to a drunk driver.
“And in those critical moments when decisions had to be made about organ donation, they were approached by the organ donation people, they were in absolute distress, hardly a time to make a critical decision, but they made the decision and agreed to authorize making their daughter available for organ donation,” Dunlap said.
Bruce and Jane Hubbard of Unity lost their daughter Angela to a brain aneurism in April of 2008 and it wasn’t long before her decision to become an organ donor began to pay dividends.
“Angela’s organs and tissues were procured and started their life-saving journeys around the country,” Bruce Hubbard told the people gathered at the event.
Thanks to Angela’s decision to designate herself an organ donor on her license, a woman who suffered from cystic fibrosis has her lungs. Her heart is inside a man who would have died without the transplant. Her kidneys and liver were also used to save lives.
“Angela is the real hero,” Hubbard said. “Her decision to donate her organs and tissue and to document it to her license was a selfless act of heroism.”
Governor LePage has proclaimed April as “Donate Life Month.” For more information on becoming an organ donor, you can visit donatelifenewengland.org