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Utah Donor Registry launches new website



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah used to lead the nation in percentage of the population who had registered as organ donors, but in recent years the state has dropped to No. 7.

To try to take the lead again, the Utah Donor Registry has launched a new website that makes it easier than ever for a person to register to donate.

"Say 'YES!' to organ and eye and tissue donation" and "Register now!" are statements you can't ignore on the newly-launched site.

"The purpose of the registry is to get people registered to indicate their wishes about being an organ, eye and tissue donor," said Alex McDonald, with Intermountain Donor Services.

It's nothing new that as a Utahn you can register online to donate organs. In fact, other states saw our success and followed suit -- that's how we fell to number seven.

**National Donation Facts**
• Over 3,000 patients are waiting for a pancreas, pancreas islet cell, or pancreas-kidney transplant. • Over 4,000 patients are waiting for a lung or heart-lung transplant. • Over 18,700 patients are waiting for a liver transplant. • Over 53,000 patients are waiting for a kidney or kidney-pancreas transplant. • Over 4,350 patients are waiting for a heart or heart-lung transplant. • Small bowel donations benefit the 300 people waiting for this life-saving transplant. Many of these patients are children. • Tissues and bones recovered include: Heart valves, skin, ligament, tendons, bones, major blood vessels, and fascia (muscle covering). • Since 1961, more than 600,000 corneal transplants have been performed, restoring sight to people ranging in age from nine days to 103 years. -*Intermountain Donor Services*
Currently, 70 percent of registered drivers in Utah are organ donors, according to the Donor registry, but with this new-and-improved site comes new goals. "By 2010, we want to hit 80 percent on the Utah Donor Registry so we can be No. 1 and hold that spot again," McDonald said.

Greg Michels is on the top of a list to receive a heart; he literally does not have one. "They gave me a week or two to live. That was about eight weeks ago," he said.

Michels is kept alive through a machine. He hopes this website will get more people to register by answering common questions and clearing up misconceptions about donating.

"If they hit the age of 50, they think they are too old," McDonald said. "People have been told they can't donate blood [and] they assume they can't donate organs."

Neither are true, and patients like Michels hope by getting the correct information out, more people will register.

McDonald says there are over 100,000 people waiting for a transplant.

CLICK HERE to check out the new "YES! Utah" website.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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Amanda Butterfield

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