May 14th, 2012 | The Blog
How many friends do you have on Facebook? Not only can you friend someone now, you can actually share your decision, or not, to be an organ donor in the event of your death. This social media connection will also allow you to be aware of the wishes of your family members and friends.
The Need for Organ Donation
Currently, there are close to 114, 000 adults and children awaiting an organ transplant, according to Donate Life America. This organization works to increase the number of registered organ donors. An astounding 18 people die everyday while awaiting an organ transplant.
The general consensus is that most people understand that organ donation is a good thing to do and actually want to donate but have not officially registered, for many different reasons.
Are There Many Registered Organ Donors?
Many states provide the vehicle to register as an organ donor through the Registry of Motor Vehicles. A person’s wish to be a donor can be documented on their driver’s license. Only 43% of U.S. adults are registered organ donors.
The flip side of that number is that there are 900 million Facebook users who can share their wishes on their Timeline.
The Reasons Behind the Cause
Facebook stated that the organ donation option is an example of using the social media site to build tools that help people transform the way we all solve worldwide social problems.
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, cited several reasons behind this organ donation initiative:
The Facebook organ donation option is not a registration site. It is a forum to share a person’s final wishes with family and friends. Before participating on the Facebook page, the donor must be signed up with a state organ donor registry. Facebook does provide a link to register.
Here is how to participate on your Facebook page:
The Gift of Life Donor Program made a statement that, “This has the potential to be one of the biggest campaigns to increase donor designation that we’ve ever seen.”
According to news reports after the launch:
There has been a significant uptick in people registered to be organ donors since the launch of Facebook’s public appeal. According to the Boston Herald, the day after the launch, 500 Massachusetts residents registered to be organ donors on the Donate Life New England site on the next day, versus the usual 50 per day registration.
The chief of transplantation surgery at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, astutely summed up the Facebook organ donor option, “There’s no downside to spreading the awareness and encouraging people to make a commitment.”