RICHMOND – As part of National Donate Life Month, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam joined the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Donate Life Virginia today in honoring DMV employees for their role in signing up 92 percent of the Commonwealth’s registered organ donors.
April is National Donate Life Month and, every year, DMV and Donate Life Virginia, the organization that maintains the Virginia Donor Registry, team up to recognize the important role DMV plays in the registration of organ donors in the Commonwealth. Approximately 4.29 million people are registered organ donors in Virginia; about 3.96 million of those registrants signed up at DMV.
“I am proud to recognize DMV employees all around the Commonwealth for the tremendous work they do to support Virginia’s organ donor registry,” Governor Northam said. “More than 115,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. About 2,400 of the people waiting live in Virginia. Saying ‘yes’ to organ donation is one simple thing you can do to save a life. I encourage all Virginians to join the registry.”
“DMV has supported organ, eye and tissue donor registration efforts for four decades and, as a result, nearly 60 percent of Virginians with a driver’s license or ID card have now designated their willingness to be an organ donor,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “DMV employees should be extremely proud of what they’ve done for Virginians waiting for an organ donation.”
Governor Northam also recognized DMV employee Sondra Bloxom who donated her kidney to a co-worker who needed the organ to live. Both Bloxom and kidney recipient Freida Booth-Pitts are doing well after the June 2017 surgery. According to Donate Life, a living organ donation saves two lives – the life of the recipient and the life of the next person on the organ waiting list. Like Bloxom, one in four living organ donors are not biologically related to the recipient.
“Every day, DMV employees ask our customers if they want to designate their willingness to be donors. It’s a question they are happy to ask because they know the answer might save someone’s life,” DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said. “Never could we have imagined that Freida’s lifesaving kidney donation would come from her longtime co-worker and friend right here at DMV, but it is a testament to the commitment DMV employees have to this cause and an example of the family spirit our agency exemplifies.”
Friday, April 13 is Donate Life’s Blue and Green Day and the public is encouraged to wear the organization’s signature colors in support of organ, eye and tissue transplantation. DMV employees participate in Blue and Green Day annually.
“One person can save as many as eight lives through organ donation, restore sight to two people through cornea donation, and improve as many as 100 lives through tissue donations,” said Lara Malbon, Donate Life Virginia Program Coordinator. “DMV employees were instrumental in our organ donor registry reaching – and surpassing – four million donors. We couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative of this lifesaving partnership.”
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