Every day, 19 people die while waiting for an organ transplant and another 138 people are added to the national waiting list — but fans of state universities and colleges can do something to change those statistics.
In the annual Gift of Life Michigan Campus Challenge, now underway, Michigan residents who sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry during the campaign can “vote” for their favorite school as well.
To sign up and participate in the challenge, go to www.giftoflifemichigan.org and look for the campus challenge widget on the right. Click "Sign up" and follow the instructions. It takes just seconds to register. The challenge ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24.
In this year’s challenge, as of Feb. 22, Michigan State University is leading with 967 registrants. Trophies also are awarded to the school with the highest percent of its student population on the registry. Also as of Feb. 22, Adrian College holds that lead with over 11 percent.
Of the state’s 10 million residents, about 2 million are registered organ donors.
Since 2007, residents no longer sign the back of their Michigan driver’s license to indicate their wish to be an organ and tissue donor. Instead they join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and receive a red heart logo on their driver’s license.
Last year, 2,063 people signed up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry during the 2010 Gift of Life Campus Challenge. So far this year, more than 3,600 people have signed up during the competition.
Eastern Michigan University won a trophy for the most donor registrations in 2010, with 405 people indicating they heard about organ donation from EMU. Siena Heights University won the trophy for the highest percentage of its student population signing up on the donor registry, with 10.5 percent of its students indicating their wish to become organ, tissue and eye donors.
U-M recently won the annual Wolverine-Buckeye Challenge, another organ donation drive that pits the Wolverines against rival Ohio State right before the football game between the two schools. U-M won the challenge in 2010, for the first time in its five-year history.
The Gift of Life Campus Challenge is one of the most successful organ donation college outreach programs in the nation, and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for its exceptional results. In the seven years since its inception, the Campus Challenge has inspired nearly 24,000 people to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Gift of Life Michigan is the state’s federally designated organ and tissue recovery organization, which acts as intermediary between donors, their families and hospital staff. Gift of Life Michigan, in collaboration with the Michigan Eye-Bank, provides all services necessary for organ, tissue and eye donation. For more information, or to sign up on the Donor Registry, visit www.giftoflifemichigan.org.
About U-M’s Transplant Center: Since the first transplant in Michigan took place at the University of Michigan back in 1964, more than 7,652 patients have benefited from our program. The center is dedicated to multi-discipinary care as well as fundamental scientific discovery and innovative translational research. www.med.umich.edu/trans/public/