New state program aims to increase organ donation

dumonceaux.jpg St. Louis Park resident Nikki Dumonceaux, 36, has been waiting almost two years for a double-lung transplant. She attended a press conference today announcing a new state program that allows Minnesotans to donate $2 to raise awareness of organ donation.

By Curtis Gilbert

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety launched a new program today aimed at increasing the number of organ donors in the state.

Starting this week, when you apply for or renew your driver’s license you can voluntarily donate $2 to raise awareness of organ donation. Similar programs in other states have raised as much as $350,000 a year.

About 60 percent of Minnesotans are registered organ donors.

“I hope that with this effort, this legislation that we passed, we will be able to help even more people and increase that 60 percent up to 70, 75, you name it. The sky’s the limit,” said State Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, who sponsored the law that created the program.

Minnesota’s organ donation rate is already well above the national average of 42 percent. More than 2,700 Minnesotans are currently waiting for transplants.

“The reason why we’re waiting so long is because there aren’t enough donors,” St. Louis Park resident Nikki Dumonceaux said.

Dumonceaux, 36, was born with cystic fibrosis and carries an oxygen tank to help her breathe. She has been waiting almost two years for a double-lung transplant.

“If there are more donors out there, more people are going to receive their transplant and live longer fuller lives,” she said.

  • Your story about Organ Donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.

    There are now over 112,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List, with over 50% of these people dying before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. Everyone who is willing to receive should be willing to give.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling

    1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 14,800 members as of this writing, including 251 members in Minnesota.

    Please contact me – Dave Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers – if your listeners would like to learn more about our innovative approach to increasing the number of organ donors. I can arrange interviews with some of our local members if you’re interested. My email address is daveundis@lifesharers.org. My phone number is 615-351-8622.