PROOS: Lauren’s Law helps increase organ donor registrations

There is a tremendous need for lifesaving organ transplants — with over 115,000 men, women and children nationwide currently in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, including more than 3,100 people here in our state.

Sadly, another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list every 10 minutes, and an average of 22 people die each day awaiting an available organ.

I sponsored Lauren’s Law with the goal to help dramatically increase the number of registered organ donors in our state, and we are seeing its positive results.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently announced that 66 percent of Michigan adults are now registered as organ donors.

Especially during the holidays, it is wonderful to hear that two-thirds of all eligible Michigan residents have signed up to give the gift of life — up from only 27 percent in January 2011.

Lauren’s Law requires the secretary of state’s office to ask whether someone wishes to be added to the organ donor registry when applying for a driver’s license. The act is named after Lauren Shields, who at age 9 was placed on life support while waiting for a heart transplant and helped pass a similar law in New York.

I want to thank John Grinnell, a Southwest Michigan resident and kidney transplant recipient, for getting me involved in this issue. Because of his initiative, we will hopefully one day have enough registered donors to end the waiting list in Michigan for lifesaving organs.

While we have come a long way, I want to remind southwest Michigan residents that there remains a critical need for donors. Becoming an organ donor might just be the most impactful thing in someone else’s life that any of us ever do. It is easy to do and could save lives.

Anyone can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, regardless of age or medical history. Residents can sign up at michigan.gov/organdonation, by calling 866-500-5801 or by visiting any secretary of state office.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. 

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