LEXINGTON, KY -- Kentucky is making a push to increase organ donations across the state by introducing a symbol printed directly onto organ donors' driver's licenses.
They have also created a statewide database of donors.
The program was introduced today at the Department of Motor Vehicles on Lexington's Regency Road. Officials were joined by those whose lives have been affected by organ donation -- either because the life-saving donation was available, because they're still hoping and waiting, or because it didn't come in time for their loved one.
Sarah Gilbert's son Jacob needed a new heart. He spent sixteen months on the waiting list, but died before a matching donation could be found.
She believes that spreading awareness about organ donation through the new drivers' license emblems and the database could increase Kentucky's donation rate. "If everyone was an organ donor, none of us would have to be standing here fighting this battle," Gilbert said.
Michelle Upthegrove's son has been on the list since May. "This is his second transplant,"explains Upthegrove, "he needs another kidney and when you're on the list twice it's harder so the more people register the better."
Every day, 18 people on waiting lists die before finding a match. In Kentucky, only 35% of the population is registered to donate their organs.
If you would like to register as an organ donor, or check your registration status, you can do so at your local DMV, or online at DonateLifeKY.org