DECATUR– Two Decatur health institutions are being honored this week for their efforts in promotion the state’s organ and tissue donation program.
St. Mary’s Hospital and the Macon County Health Department were both given plaques and recognized by the Secretary of State’s Office Tuesday afternoon for their efforts in promoting and educating people about the program.
“This is an honor to be recognized like this, we take great pride in our efforts,” St. Mary’s President and CEO Dan Perryman said. “We know we are doing everything we can to save the lives of everyone in our community.”
Secretary of State Jesse White was at St. Mary’s to present the two plaques; said Illinois has a waiting list of over 5,000 people who need an organ or tissue donation or transplant, it’s one of the largest numbers in the country.
“We do what we can to promote this program and I think we do a lot but we are still having to come up with new ways to get people to sign up,” White said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, over 120,000 people nationwide are on waiting lists to receive an organ donation, with 18 people dying each day because they don’t receive the proper care in time.
“Each donor has the chance to improve the lives or save the lives of up to 25 people,” White added. “That is tremendous.”
As a way to increase enrollment, White said his latest campaign has been shooting down rumors and mistruths about the program, “People come up to me and say, ‘I don’t want to donate because my doctor won’t do everything they can to save me,’ or, ‘I’m too old or sick,’ and those things simply aren’t true. I encourage everyone to sign up and if you have reservations about it I encourage you to go to our website lifegoeson.com to research it on your own.”
This week is Minority Donor Awareness Week, meant to educate and increase enrollees in the minority communities. White says the number of minorities who appear on the donor lists far outweigh the number of minorities signed up to donate, “50% of the 5,000 people on the list are minorities, the problem is that minorities only sign up at a 35% clip, that doesn’t add up.”
To register for the donor program you can go to any DMV or log onto LifeGoesOn.com.