LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The sign outside the Driver’s License section of the Laurel County Judicial Center reads: “Help Us Save Lives.”
The personnel inside the Laurel County Circuit Clerk’s office politely ask: “Would you like to donate $1 for the Trust for Life or sign up to be an organ donor?”
Those simple expressions can make the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians each year.
In fact, in the U.S., 18 people die every day while awaiting an organ transplant. But those who sign their driver’s license as an organ donor can make a difference in those statistics.
In Kentucky, the effort of asking has paid off. Last year was a record year for organ donor sign-ups across the state, with 44.8 percent of Kentuckians donating $1 to the organ donation awareness program and 42.5 percent are now registered donors. In 2013 alone, the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry increased by 10 percent.
In Laurel County, nearly half of the population participates in the organ donor program.
“Last year, Laurel County residents donated $8,538 to the Trust for Life and 1,573 joined the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry,” said Roger Schott, circuit clerk. “Now 40 percent of Laurel County residents are registered donors. I am proud of the generosity of our community and appreciate your support of this life-saving program.”
An estimated 900 Kentuckians are currently on the organ donor list. Last year, 299 persons received a life-saving organ transplant and hundreds more received tissue or cornea transplants through the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. Nationwide, more than 120,000 people are waiting for that life-saving organ transplant.
“We simply ask everyone if they would like to donate $1 to the Kentucky Organ Donor program and if they wish to be a registered organ donor. It is just part of our jobs at the Circuit Clerk’s Office, but we know it makes an incredible difference to transplant patients in need,” Schott said.