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At any given time, there are more than 110,000 people waiting for an organ transplant — 110,000 people waiting for an organ donor. Every four hours, someone on that list will die because they were unable to get a transplant in time to save their life. According to United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 6,600 people died last year while waiting for an organ.
There are more than 800 million active users on Facebook. The social network announced a partnership with Donate Life America earlier this month in an attempt to solve the organ crisis. Nobody should have to die because they couldn’t get a transplant in time.
On May 1, Facebook announced a new tool that makes it easy for individuals to add their names to the organ donor list. In one day, more than 6,000 Facebook users became organ donors in 22 states. Prior to the release of the Facebook tool, those states combined would only see 400 new registries each day.
In California, only 70 people would sign up each day to become an organ donor. In the 24 hours following the release of the new Facebook tool, about 3,900 new donors signed up in California. Donate Life has a goal of registering 20 million new donors in 2012. The new Facebook registry tool will help make this vision a reality.
ABC News talks with Dr. Andrew Cameron, surgeon at Johns Hopkins about organ donation:
Every year, some organ donor cases are lost when an individual who was registered as an organ donor dies, but their organs were unable to be donated because their family was unaware of their decision to donate. Facebook’s tool provides an easy way for individuals to share their decision to donate with friends and family.
As with other personal information on Facebook, individuals can also choose to keep their organ donor status private, but the hope is that when people do share their decision, it will become viral, encouraging their friends and family to register as well.
The partnership between Facebook and Donate Life America is a huge blessing to the individual organ and tissue banks, like us. Communicating the importance of agreeing to be an organ and tissue donor is our biggest challenge, said Penny Vogelsang, President and CEO of the Kansas Eye Bank and Cornea Research Center. It’s exciting to see a networking giant like Facebook, with hundreds of millions of users, taking advantage of their platform to do something that can both improve the quality of life and give life to thousands of people every year.
Registering to be an organ donor and sharing that decision with friends and family is easy. Simply go to your Timeline and click “Life Event.” Next, click “Health and Wellness,” and then “Organ Donor.” If you aren’t already a registered organ donor, follow the link to sign up with Donate Life.
Watch this video to see how it’s done:
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