Apr. 23, 2018

By Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie)
Life is precious; and more than 119,000 men, women and children are clearly aware of that fact as they await a life-saving organ transplant. More than 8,500 of those individuals are our friends, family members and neighbors here in Pennsylvania.

In addition to those waiting for organs, thousands more are waiting for tissue transplants to greatly enhance their quality of life. Fortunately, we have the means to help many of these individuals extend or enhance their lives through organ and tissue donation.

Earlier this month, the House passed House Resolution 821 designating April as Donate Life Month in Pennsylvania to encourage Commonwealth residents to learn more about organ donation.

The Pennsylvania Legislature also encourages living organ donation through Act 193 of 2014, which offers tax credits to employers who offer paid leave to workers who choose to donate an organ or bone marrow to someone in need.

It is shocking to learn that 8,000 people die each year because they do not receive a donated organ in time. That amounts to 22 people per day!

Fortunately, one organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and heal more than 50 people. In fact, anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor.

And living donors can help the majority of people on waiting lists. Eighty percent of patients on the lists are waiting for a kidney. A person with two healthy kidneys can donate one, and the remaining kidney will naturally enlarge and do the work of both kidneys. Another 12 percent of patients are waiting for a liver, which is a regenerating organ. That means a person can donate part of his or her liver to a person on the waiting list and then the liver in both the donor and recipient will regenerate to normal size and function again.

This is important information to know if you have ever considered becoming a living donor.

More than 4.5 million people have also added the donor designation to their driver’s licenses, learner’s permits or state ID cards so that their wishes to donate their organs are carried out if the time comes that they are unable to make the decision themselves.

Those who would like to add the organ donor designation to their driver’s license or identification card can visit www.dmv.state.pa.us and select the “Donate Life Pennsylvania” icon at the bottom of the page.

To learn more about organ donation, check out DonateLife.net.

Representative Curt Sonney
4th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman