While Feb. 14 is most commonly known as Valentine’s Day, it is also National Donor Day. This day is meant to serve as a reminder of the importance of discussing the lifesaving possibilities of organ and tissue donation. Thanks to the Circuit Court Clerks of Kentucky, showing the heart on your driver’s license is the perfect way to start a conversation about love and legacy.
“We encourage everyone to use National Donor Day to discuss organ donation with those closest to you,” said Daviess Co. Circuit Court Clerk Jennifer Besecker. “Joining the Organ Donor Registry means you have made the decision to save and heal lives at the time of your death, if you are eligible. It won’t happen for many years, but at that time, what an amazing gift to give someone a second chance at life. A last act of love and kindness to another soul.”
Currently, more than 1,000 people are awaiting a lifesaving transplant in Kentucky with more than 114,000 waiting nationwide. Every day 22 people die waiting. Everyone is eligible to register as a donor when you renew your driver’s license or online www.registerme.org. There are no health or age limits.
“When we think of lifesavers, we often think of our military, first responders, and hospital workers. But each of us can be a hero. Thinking about what happens after we are gone from this earth may not be easy, but talking about the heroic, generous legacy we hope to leave behind is inspiring,” explains Shelley Snyder, Executive Director of the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life Organ Donation Awareness Program.
“You can share the love this National Donor Day by starting the conversation with those closest to you. Proudly show your generous heart on your license. Every heart gives hope to those suffering and waiting.”
Michelle Branham from Magoffin County, Ky., knows firsthand the miracle of receiving a kidney transplant after she suffered for years from kidney disease.
“On Sept. 9, 2017, I received the call that my family and I had long been waiting for. They had a match! I would be getting a new kidney,” she said. “I will never forget that phone call; I was actually at the Dialysis Center when I was contacted. The excitement I felt was indescribable. My family and I hurriedly gathered our things and made the trip to meet my transplant team — all because someone made the choice to give life through organ donation.”
Branham has worked to honor her donor since her transplant.
“I’m so lucky to be able to spend time with my daughter and loved ones,” Branham said. “I’m so grateful for my donor because thanks to them I’m able to see my beautiful daughter play, celebrate special times with loved ones and simply go to the store without struggling and needing assistance with daily things.”
The dollar donations at Circuit Court Clerks’ Driver’s License counters and other philanthropic partners, including KODA and Kosair Charities, fund the statewide community outreach and public relations efforts to grow the Registry. Kentucky was recently recognized by Donate Life America for outstanding increases in Registry rates.