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Registered donor? Which of these do you have on your driver's license?

Did you know that every 11 minutes another person is added to the national list of those needing an organ or tissue transplant? That means that each and every day, more than 130 people essentially “get in line” hoping to receive the organ or tissue transplant they need. About 18 people in the U.S. die every day because the organs that could save their lives are not available in time.

Currently, more than 112,000 people are on that list and approximately, 1,000 of them are on the South Carolina waiting list according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

I never really thought about the difference a donor could make until several years ago. I think it really hit home when I spent time with and wrote about David, at the time he was a junior at Swansea High School in South Carolina and was in need of a heart transplant. He was fortunate for a match to come available and received a transplant at the Medical University of South Carolina. Without it, he would have died.

I had agreed to be a donor previously, but it really became more apparent during the year that I spent with David and his family.

There is something we can do.

In 2008, the SC Organ and Tissue Donor Registry was launched. Since that date, about 764,000 South Carolinians have registered their legal consent to become a donor. Prior to the SC Organ and Tissue Donor Registry launch, about 1.2 million South Carolinians had the old heart symbol on their driver’s license and identification cards. The old heart symbol indicated the desire to become a donor, not the legal consent or placement into a registry. So, those names could not be automatically transferred into the registry.

So, I was excited to learn about S.C.R.U.B.S. (South Carolina Registry Unites Business Support), which challenges S.C. businesses to help the South Carolina Organ and Tissue Donor Registry to reach 1.1 million registrants by 11 a.m. on November 11, 2011. South Carolina hospitals and the SC Hospital Association (SCHA), which is where I work, have been participating in the statewide initiative designed to build a larger organ donor base.

S.C.R.U.B.S. is a collaborative effort developed by LifePoint Organ and Tissue Donation Services for South Carolina, Donate Life South Carolina and SCHA.

So what can you do?

Even if you previously indicated your desire to be a donor by registering at the SC Department of Motor Vehicles, you might need to re-register and signup with the new registry to ensure your wishes are met. Check your driver’s license and see which symbol you have on there.  Is it correct one? If not, you can go to www.Every11Minutes.org to register online.

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