June 18, 2010


New license plate will help us give life

There is Tracy, a heart recipient. And Tyler, who is a bone recipient.

But we can’t forget John, a cornea transplant recipient, and Christine, who is a kidney recipient.

They are among the thousands of people in the United States who have been blessed to receive organ donations in recent years.

These individuals’ powerful stories sharing how their quality of life has dramatically improved thanks to other people’s gift of life are featured on the national Donate Life America Web site at www.donatelife.net.

Their “stories of hope” are also something we Catholics can appreciate since our faith calls us to value every human life from conception until natural death.

Earlier this month, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles approved a new specialty license plate that affirms the value of organ donation.

The Donate Life Indiana specialty plate, which will be available beginning next January, “… will be a visual reminder that people are waiting and, without the gift of organ and tissue donation, will die,” said Joni Rosebrock, president of Donate Life Indiana. “Someone is added to the national waiting list every 11 minutes, and we need to end this wait.”

According to the Donate Life America Web site, an average of 17 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving transplant.

Officials for Donate Life Indiana, the state affiliate for Donate Life America, hope the increased visibility of their new license plate will inspire more people to be organ and tissue donors.

More than 1,300 Indiana residents are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

“This is a unique [license] plate,” Rosebrock said in a press release. “Each plate will literally represent a life. It could be someone waiting for a transplant, or to pay tribute [to] a loved one who was a donor, or [for] a celebration of a life received.”

People can register to be donors at the BMV when they renew or obtain a driver’s license or State ID card, online at www.DonateLifeIndiana.org, or by paper registration.

Among the organs that can be donated are your kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas and small intestine. Tissue that can be donated include the cornea/eye, skin, bone, tendons, heart valves and veins.

Because people of all ages are in need of transplants, there is no age requirement for donors.

Currently, 3.2 million Hoosiers are registered to be organ and tissue donors. Donate Life Indiana officials would like to add 100,000 names to the Indiana State Donor Registry this year.

Donate Life Indiana will use the money generated from the specialty plate campaign to help people better understand organ donation.

“Many people have wrong information about donation, and that keeps them from registering [as donors],” said Jack Badger, a donor father and the husband of a liver recipient. “They should know that doctors always try to save a life because donation is not considered until death [occurs], and donation can happen at any age.”

Many faith traditions, including Catholicism, support organ donation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Organ transplants are in conformity with the moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good that is sought for the recipient. Organ donation after death is a noble and meritorious act, and is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent. Moreover, it is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons” (Catechism, #2296).

As people of faith, we know how precious the gift of life is. Through organ donation, our gift will give someone a second chance at life.

—Mike Krokos

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