Friends For Life: Michigan meets national organ donor average

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – “We were near the bottom, ranked nationally which was kind of embarrassing,” said Betsy Miner-Swartz Gift of Life Michigan communication specialist.

27 percent embarrassing, that’s how many in Michigan were signed up to be organ donors in 2011,

Just over one in four adults, but things are different now.

“As of January we just reached a point where fifty percent of adults in Michigan are now registered organ donors,” Swartz said.

So how did the Great Lakes State make such a great stride in just four years?

Betsy Miner-Swartz says a big help was when Ruth Johnson became Secretary of State.

“She wanted to improve that and made it a priority,” said Fred Woodhams, Secretary of State spokesman.

Johnson asked workers at Secretary of State branches to ask those during the renewal process did they want to donate their organs when they renew their licenses.

“Which makes organ donation the cultural norm here in Michigan, so more people want to do it than don’t want to do it and that’s really heartening,” Swartz said.

Along with other efforts that now have Michigan at the national average for adult donors and hope to surpass 51 percent later this year.

“The group deserves to be commended because they did a good job increasing, you know almost twice, but I think that you can get a lot higher, eighty, ninety percent if you become more visible,” said Jim Tello Leslie resident.

Jim Tello is now on the organ donor list and hopes others help give the gift of life.

“With the growing registry it gives people hope to the people in Michigan who are waiting,” Swartz said.

Hope for a second chance at life.

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