Support for organ donation high, registration numbers low

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HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – New statistics released by Donate Life PA say 90 percent of the state’s residents support organ donations, but less than half are actually registered.

Checking a box is all that has to be done to save a life.

Of those not registered to donate in Pennsylvania, 82 percent say they would accept a donation.

So why aren’t they registered?

Twenty-three percent say they didn’t take the time, but Gift of Life representative Dwendy Johnson said it can be done online in 30 seconds.

Twenty-one percent of the people not registered say they didn’t think they were healthy enough.

“There is no age too old or too young,” Johnson said.

Ten percent of those not registered say it’s because they believe in a myth. Johnson debunks the myth.

“They’ll do everything possible to save a life. It’s only when someone is officially declared brain dead that organ donation is an opportunity,” Johnson said.

Dauphin County resident Bernie Readinger said he’s had a new lease on life because of organ donations. Twenty years ago, Bernie was dying from kidney failure. On his birthday, May 19th 1996, a day his kids describe it as Christmas morning, they found a match for a replacement.

Bernie could live, but he later found out the kidney inside him was that of a young man he used to mentor in youth group. Eight years later, Bernie battled cancer and made it through remission. Two years after cancer, his kidneys failed again.

This time, his sister was the a perfect match.

“I’m here today because my sister decided to be an organ donor for me,” he said.

You can register to be an organ donor on your phone or computer at donatelifepa.org/registration.

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