April 2012 marked National Organ Donor Month in the U.S. While there were many ceremonies for donor families, celebrations of life for recipients, and declarations made across states, the most notable activity was the announcement of Facebook’s feature to indicate you are an organ donor.
While the new “Health & Wellness” indicator on your Facebook timeline does not actually register you to become an organ donor, it is a public (or friends-only) pledge and acknowledgment of your intention to do so. Facebook does provide links to Donate Life, which in turn links you to your state registry.
The Facebook and Donate Life partnership certainly brings more attention to the need for an increase in organ donation. And, the initial feedback was overwhelming – post-announcement, several states saw registrations spike into the thousands for a day when they are typically in the hundreds. I couldn’t help but wonder, what comes next? (And, it seems I am not the only one wondering such things, living donation is yet to be addressed)
Signing up to become an organ donor is still a fragmented process. How you can sign up (online, by mail, in person) differs state by state. When you move states, you’ll need to re-register. When you renew your driver’s license, you may need to re-register too. And, you still need to make your intentions clear to your family. How are we going to streamline this process and make it easier? How can I indicate in one place that I want to be an organ donor and have this be legal consent and easily accessible information no matter where I am living or traveling?
I guess the real question is, how do we harness this building consent and awareness into ongoing momentum to save lives?