The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 4, 2013

Ultimate gift

Consider becoming an organ donor

The Tribune-Democrat

— With April marking National Donate Life Month, we see it as an appropriate time to applaud the individuals and families who have donated organs or who have taken appropriate steps to assure that their organs are available for harvesting at the time of their deaths.

How wonderful to will a gift that affords others an opportunity to live longer or to improve on their quality of life. 

More than 8,300 Pennsylvanians currently await organ transplants. In its effort to address those needs, the state Department of Transportation reminds driver’s license and identification card holders that they can easily help another person live a fuller, longer life by registering online as an organ donor.

“Potential donors considering adding the organ donor designation to their driver’s license or identification card do not have to wait for their renewal notices to take action,”

PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said this week. 

“There are steps that you can take today to become an organ donor and potentially save a life.”

Here’s how:

To add the organ donor designation to an existing driver’s license or identification card, visit and select the “Donate Life Pennsylvania” icon at the bottom of the page. Once the designation is added, individuals will receive a designation card that they will have to carry with them to affirm organ donor status until they renew or replace their driver’s license or identification card.

There is no charge for adding the designation to your driver’s license or identification card.

Fortunately, a lot of people already are on board. Nearly 46 percent of driver’s license and identification card holders are registered organ donors. That’s more than 4.4 million Pennsylvanians, PennDOT says.

Driver’s license and identification card holders, as well as registered vehicle owners, can also support organ donation programs by donating $1 to the Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund at the time of application and/or renewal. Proceeds from the fund are used to educate and promote awareness of the organ donor program through nonprofit organizations such as the Center for Organ Recovery and Education and the Gift of Life Donor Program.

Pennsylvanians already have donated more than $10 million to the fund.

That’s heartwarming.

As part of an ongoing effort to increase awareness of organ and tissue donation, video monitors featuring educational content have been installed at 20 PennDOT driver’s license centers.

We suspect that nearly every one of our readers has a relative, friend or neighbor who has been affected by the donor program. We urge everyone to consider being a donor.

On the Web

* Additional information on organ and tissue donation in Pennsylvania can be found at

* Additional information on other state Department of Transportation programs can be found at


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