Two state officials testify to the benefits of organ transplants as the state prepares to observe “Donate Life” month.
State Department of Motor Vehicles Director Beverly Neth twice received living kidney donations from her sisters. She urges Nebraskans to sign up at the DMV or sign up online at Donate Life Nebraska to indicate their willingness to be a donor.
Last year, 261 Nebraskans received lifesaving organ transplants. At present, there are 450 residents on the waiting list for organ and tissue donations.
Nebraska Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joann Schaefer, Director of the Division of Public Health, says all Nebraskans need to consider becoming donors. Schaefer knows. She received a liver transplant four years ago from a living donor.
“When I think back to this time four years ago, I wasn’t really in shape enough to even walk down the hallway, I was very, very sick at the time and just struggling to get through each day,” Schaefer suffered from a family disease she didn’t know about until she was an adult.
Schaefer says the transplant saved her life.
“Today, I have completed eight half-marathons. I’m going to do my first full marathon this year, in October,” Schaefer tells reporters during a Capitol news conference. “I wouldn’t be able to have the life that I have today without my living donor.”
State records indicate that nearly 700,000 Nebraska residents have signed on to the Nebraska Donor Registry, an increase of more than 12,000 since the end of 2010. About half of the state’s license drivers are designated as organ donors.
Donate Life Month is a national observance to increase awareness about the need for organ, eye and tissue donations.
AUDIO: Gov. Heineman hosts news conference with Directors Neth and Schaefer on Donate Life month [14 min.]