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.