Parents of organ donors encourage others to sign up
The vast majority of Tennesseans, or about 98% who register as an organ donor, do so while receiving their driver’s license.
The vast majority of Tennesseans, or about 98% who register as an organ donor do so while receiving their driver’s license.
Governor Bill Haslam proclaimed September 25 to 29 as national DMV Appreciation Week for the work their employees do to save lives.
In Hamilton County, there are 155 waiting for an organ transplant right now. Officials say employees at the DMV play a vital role to meet that need.
It’s something you are asked when you get your driver’s license, ‘Do you like to be marked as an organ or tissue donor today?’
It's not something everyone chooses to sign up for. However, two mothers are grateful for the ones who do.
"Yes, this is about someone who passed away but just think about the people that are living because of that,” Robin Burton said.
She lost her son, Blake Levi in 1999, his organ donation saved three lives. Her son's legacy lived on because he gave the gift of life. It’s why she wants to encourage others to do the same.
“What if it happened to your child? What if you needed a transplant? What if someone in your family needed a transplant? Wouldn’t you want someone else to say yes to organ donation so they could live?" she said.
Workers at Tennessee DMV offices ask everyone in line, including Tiki Finlayson’s son who was killed by a drunk driver. She admits it was ‘hard to honor his choice.’
"But I am so so thankful that he did because he saved four lives and enhanced so many other people’s lives through bone and tissue donation,” Finlayson said.
On average, 20 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time. However, last year, more than 900 Tennessee lives were saved by organ transplants alone.
Finlayson’s son may physically be gone, but she knows his heart is still very much alive.
"His heart recipient allowed us to have a stethoscope listen to Kevin’s heartbeat again and as I stood there listening, I knew that Kevin was superhero to this man,” she said.
Right now, there are about 120,000 people waiting for an organ donation in the United States, about 3,000 of those are in Tennessee.
To find out more about what it takes to become an organ donor, visit Donate Life’s website.