Program enables Californians to make organ donations | SierraSun.com

Program enables Californians to make organ donations

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Jason Kelley/Sierra SunChristine Young shows the Truckee DMV employees the changes in the organ donor application since the Golden State Donors Service entered a partnership with California DMV.

Glen Clement, a North Shore resident and father of four, can attest to the importance of organ donation.

His son Colby needed a new kidney at 5 months old due to a genetic disorder. Clement gave his son his own kidney. Health complications continued, and Colby needed a liver. In fall 2005 Colby was placed on a donor list, and the Clement family waited.

A new partnership with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and Donate Life California has established an official organ and tissue donor registry for California. Now, the wait for organs may be shorter for families like the Clements.

“The greatest gift you can give is the gift of life,” Clement said. “Short of donating your life you can donate an organ. Anything to be done to get people more aware of donor registry [is important]. Enabling someone else to have a longer life. The gift of life.”

This Memorial Day the Clements received the phone call that changed their lives: Colby was set to receive a new liver from the body of a child donor.

Prior to July, the pink donor dot on a driver’s license or identification card simply served as a symbol of intent. It did not include a person on the official registry. As of July 1, those applying for or renewing driver’s licenses or identification cards who check “yes” are on the legally binding donor registry. It is necessary to register online if the card was issued before July 1.

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Currently, more than 18,000 Californians await organ or tissue donations, according to Donate Life California. And one-third of those will die waiting. Most human bodies have the potential to donate eight organs and tissue to help at least 50 people.

Christine Young, a Truckee resident and volunteer speaker with the not-for-profit organization Golden State Donor Services, works with the DMV to make the public aware of donor registry. She recently spoke with the South Lake Tahoe and Truckee DMV offices to thank them for their cooperation in educating the public about the official registry.

“We are so thrilled to be working in partnership with the DMV to sign up donors for the California registry,” said Young. “I extend a giant thank you. What they’re doing is heroic.”

The DMV continues to show support as they institute the new application forms providing the option to join the registry.

“We’ve been signing up an average over 5,000 people each day statewide,” said California DMV spokesman Mike Miller.

For families like the Clements, this is good news.

Three of the four Clement children share Colby’s genetic disorder. Organ and tissue donation will continue to be a matter close to their hearts and to their health as they battle to stay well.

Today, Colby’s health is improving and he’s running around and even trying to do flips on the trampoline with his IV, Clement said.

“He’s going 100 miles per hour,” he said. “For us it is such a relief.”

To officially join the official California donor registry, or for more information about the importance of being an organ and tissue donor, visit http://www.donatelifecalifornia.org.