Nearly 25,000 Minnesotans have added the word "donor" to their driver's license or ID card since a statewide organ donation campaign launched last October, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The Department of Public Safety announced Monday that the campaign has pushed the total number of organ donors to 2.62 million Minnesotans. More than 63 percent of Minnesotans are registered organ, eye and tissue donors, compared to 48 percent nationally.
“Minnesotans are generous and are eager to support important work, so it’s no wonder that more than half of our friends and neighbors are organ donors,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman said in the press release. “Our strong partnership with donation agencies has been the foundation for this success, and we are pleased that they will be able to reach even more people with the lifesaving message of organ donation through National Donate Life Month in April.”
Statistics show that there are also more Minnesotans waiting for an organ transplant compared to the national average – 3,100 people statewide are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, officials said. Nationally, as of Monday, there were 122,199 people waiting for an organ, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In 2012, 3,845 Americans, including 101 Minnesotans, died while waiting for a transplant, FOX 9 says.
As part of National Donate Life Month, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was speaking Monday about organ donation at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. More than a decade ago, his 20-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver and many of her organs were donated, KSTP says.
In recent weeks there have been stories of other Minnesotans being involved in accidents and their organs being used to help others. Marcus Nalls, 26, was hit and killed by a van while riding his bike in Minneapolis in February. He was an organ donor and some of his organs helped save the life of a young girl.
When UND student Matt Heisler, 21, renewed his license, he opted to be an organ and tissue donor. He died in March from injuries sustained in a fire. His family said his organs went on to help at least 60 people.
A Cottage Grove man had a unique way to raise awareness – and request a kidney donation. He built a kidney out of snow and after it gained media attention, several people offered to be living donors. An Oakdale, Minnesota, man also opted to be a living donor. He donated his kidney to a neighbor in need.
A friend of rapper P.O.S. recently donated a kidney to the Minnesota musician.