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Elyse Coffey
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RELEASE: Apr. 18, 2013

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Christie Administration Joins with Lourdes Medical Center and Organ Donor Programs to Mark Increase in Donor Designations in New Jersey

Asks Residents to Register to Give the Gift of Life
(CAMDEN) – Citing the nearly 118,000 people nationally waiting to receive a life-saving organ transplant, Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez, along with representatives of the New Jersey Department of Health,   NJ Sharing Network and Gift of Life Donor Program, today visited the Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden to highlight an almost 14 percent increase in donor registrations over the last year. The group also stressed the need for additional organ and tissue donors and called for more registrations in the months ahead.

“Between 2011 and 2012, the MVC increased the number of donors registered at an agency by nearly 87,000 people,” said Martinez. “While this is a tremendous boost to helping the approximately 5,000 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters of all ages in New Jersey who are in need of a life-saving organ transplant, our work is far from over.”

"I encourage everyone to learn more about organ and tissue donation and to sign up to be an organ donor this spring," said Commissioner of Health Mary E. O'Dowd. "If you are already registered, encourage friends, family and co-workers to consider it."

The MVC, which accounts for nearly all donor registrations in New Jersey, has joined with the state’s organ procurement organizations during Donate Life Month to raise awareness and boost the donor rolls. In the last year, registrations at the agencies grew by almost 14 percent statewide with agencies in Newark, Lodi and Bayonne leading the group with increases over 31 percent each.

“One person can save up to eight lives through organ transplantation and enhance the lives of more than 50 people through tissue transplants,” says Jan L. Weinstock, Vice President of Administration and General Counsel of Gift of Life Donor Program. “During National Donate Life Month, we celebrate the second chances that these transplants can provide and ask others to take action by registering as donors.”

“We are extremely pleased to see such a significant year-to-year increase in the number of registered donors in our state, especially in some of the most diverse communities,” said Joe Roth, president and CEO, NJ Sharing Network. “This tells us our outreach efforts are making a real difference.”

The MVC has stepped up its efforts to make customers aware of their ability to register as an organ and tissue donor during driver licensing and ID transactions. Just this month, Governor Chris Christie declared April in New Jersey as Donate Life Month with an official proclamation. Martinez, along with representatives from NJ Sharing Network and Gift of Life Donor Program, has also been visiting each of the MVC’s 39 agencies to speak with customers and highlight the need for organ and tissue donors. To celebrate Donate Life Month, the MVC is also donning blue and green to support National Donate Life Blue and Green Day on April 19.

There are three easy ways to become and organ and tissue donor in New Jersey: add your name to the donor registry during a driver’s license or ID transaction, register online at www.njmvc.gov or request a paper registration at (800) 742-7365.

New Jersey is served by six transplant centers located throughout the state, including Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden. More than 1,000 patients have received the gift of life at Lourdes’ Regional Center for Organ Transplantation. Eighty percent of Lourdes transplant patients are residents of the southern New Jersey community.

“We applaud the efforts of the MVC, the New Jersey Department of Health and organ procurement organizations such as NJ Sharing Network and Gift of Life Donor Program who are working tirelessly to increase the organ donation rate,” said Alexander J. Hatala, President and CEO of Lourdes Health System. “As the only transplant center in southern New Jersey, we see firsthand the impact that organ donation has on our community. Not only does it provide a second chance at life for recipients, but it allows donor families a sense of closure and purpose. We remember and honor them today and every day a life is saved by their heroic decision.”