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11 Million Californians Say "Yes!" to Saving Lives

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Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 | dmvpublicaffairs@dmv.ca.gov

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Contact:
Brianne Mundy
Donate Life California
619-940-7084
brianne@donateLIFEcalifornia.org


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New National Record:
11 Million Californians Say "YES!" to Saving Lives
as Registered Organ, Eye & Tissue Donors
Largest Registry in the U.S.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 8, 2014 - 11 MILLION CALIFORNIANS are registered organ, eye and tissue donors. With this new milestone, California broadens its footprint as the largest organ, eye and tissue donor registry in the country and the world.

Donate Life California, which manages the state-authorized donor registry, joined the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today to announce this milestone and to kick off National Donate Life Month. Each year in April, Donate Life organizations in all 50 states participate in a nationwide campaign to inspire their communities to register as organ, eye and tissue donors to save and improve lives.

"Today, we celebrate and thank each and every one of the 11 million people in our state who have signed up on the Donate Life California Registry," said Cindy Siljestrom, Donate Life California Board President. "Your registration gives hope to the 21,000 people who wait for the gift of life in California. Some will die waiting for an organ transplant that doesn't come in time due to the lack of available organs. Our hope is everyone will choose to be a donor to save lives. Even with our milestone number of 11 million registrations, only one out of every three adults in California is a registered donor. I encourage all Californians to register today to give hope to those who wait."

The continued growth of the registry gives hope to the countless families who depend on the altruistic kindness of strangers to extend the lives of their loved ones.

Photo of Luca Salcone, Liver Recipient
Luca Salcone, Liver Recipient

"An organ donor hero saved my son's life," said Katie Salcone of Folsom. "We almost lost Luca, but thanks to a liver transplant in the eleventh hour, we get to watch him grow up. I don't know how we'll ever adequately thank our donor or his/her family. We share our story with the hope that everyone will register as a donor at the DMV or online - it's truly a life-saving opportunity."

Three years ago, Katie and Chris Salcone were told their 18-month-old son, Luca, needed a liver transplant immediately. Without it, he had only days, if not hours, to live. But, his chances of a liver match being found in time were very, very slim. Against all odds, a match was found that very night, thanks to someone saying "yes" to organ donation

In California, residents can join the registry by checking "YES!" at the DMV or signing up online at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org

"The DMV is proud to partner with Donate Life California. Organ and tissue donation gives people from all walks of life a second chance at life," said Jean Shiomoto, DMV Director. "The ability to impact organ and tissue donation through the DMV process is our privilege and responsibility. We are honored to be an instrumental part of saving and healing lives."

The DMV is an important Donate Life California partner, with 95 percent of California's 11 million registered organ, eye and tissue donors having checked "YES!" while applying for or renewing their California driver license or ID.

California Assembly Speaker John Pérez also joined Donate Life California and the DMV in celebrating the 11 million registry milestone. Speaker Pérez is a long-standing supporter of Donate Life California and a proud donor son. His father became an organ donor when he passed away a few years ago.

"I am deeply grateful for the work that Donate Life California and their volunteers do every single day," said Speaker Pérez. "The work they do makes a profound difference in the lives of the people on the waiting list and their families. Our state has the largest population of folks needing an organ transplant, and Donate Life California helps spread the message that all of us have the opportunity to give someone a new lease on life by becoming an organ donor. I am proud of the work they do to spread this vital message to every Californian."

Fast Facts:

  • In 2013, organ, eye and tissue donors in California saved more than 3,000 lives, and improved thousands more with eye and tissue donation.
  • 18 people across the country die each day awaiting life-saving organ transplants.
  • More than 21,000 people (about 20 percent of the national list) who wait for a life-saving organ transplant live in California.

About Donate Life California:
The Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry. As a public service, the registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. The registry is administered by Donate Life California and California's four nonprofit, federally designated organ recovery organizations: California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN), Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services. For more information about Donate Life California; how organ, eye and tissue donation saves and improves lives; and to sign up, please visit www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or in Spanish at www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org

More Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • All major religions support or permit organ, eye and tissue donation.
  • You're never too old to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.
  • Do not rule yourself out! People with all medical conditions are potential donors.

Please visit Donate Life California's Stories of Hope web page to read inspiring stories about organ and tissue donors and recipients from around the state.

Additional Contacts:
Armando Botello, Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Public Affairs, dmvpublicaffairs@dmv.ca.gov, 916-657-6437

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