Idahoans register to donate their organs using Facebook

Idahoans register to donate their organs using Facebook

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by Andrea Lutz

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBandrealutz

KTVB.COM

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 10:28 PM

Updated Thursday, May 3 at 9:37 AM

BOISE -- Idaho is tied for having the sixth highest percentage of registered organ donors out of all 50 states, putting Idaho in the top ten.

All of those numbers are set to increase and that is because Facebook is getting involved in the cause.

Facebook's newest organ donation application spurred 6,000 sign ups in the United States in just the first day.

“Many people can help others through the gift of organ donations,” said Lauren Land the Organ Donation Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank.

“The DMV is the primary place where people sign up,” said Land.

The vast majority of people who register as an organ donor do so when they receive or renew their driver’s license. 

In Idaho, there is about 60 percent of the population over the age of 18 who are already registered as donors, and even more are registered licensed drivers.

“Around 66% of drivers in Idaho have said yes to organ donations so that is a really high number, higher than the national average,” said Ed Pemble the Drivers Services Manager at the Idaho Transportation Department.

Wednesday, Meridian resident Dan Barbar was doing business at the Ada County DMV and when asked if he was a registered organ donor he replied, yes.

“I might as well if I have any good parts; donate them to some people,” said Barbar.

There is a national waiting list of people who are waiting for a transplant and nationally, that number has reached over 113,000.

That being said, organ donation specialists; Intermountain Donor Services out of Utah, estimate there are close to 600 people in Idaho who are in need of a transplant.

With Barbar’s willingness to become a donor, he might just save a life, a life like former Boise resident Chad Jemmett.

A couple of years ago while he was living in Boise, Jemmett became very sick.

“I started to turn yellow my skin was all jaundice and I went to the doctor one day they said wow you need a liver transplant,” Jemmett said.

He now lives in Utah, and received his transplant in March of 2011.

“I am healthy and pretty good now,” said Jemmett despite some occasional sickness.

Facebook is not only offering its users the option to register, but also to talk about it on their profile page. 

“I think it just really sparks the conversation with people amongst their friends and family about what their wishes are,” said Land.

Jemmett recently shared his story and his choice to be a donor on his own Facebook page.

“More people who are donors the better because there are just some things you can't fix,” said Jemmett.

So how exactly does it work?

On your Facebook timeline (near where you would type your status update) click the “life event” icon.

From there, click on the “health and wellness” tab and then click on “organ donor.”

There you can share your thoughts as well as get connected to Idaho’s organ donation registry website.

Since Tuesday morning when Facebook made their announcement, there have been 23 Idahoans who have registered as organ donors online.

On average, about 1 person per day will register online on the Yes Idaho Donor Registry.
 

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