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For Immediate Release
February 13, 2002
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Encourages Maine Citizens
to Consider the Gift of Organ Donation on Valentine's Day
New brochure explains how to indicate your intention on driver's license

AUGUSTA--A new brochure developed by the Department of the Secretary of State regarding organ donation is now available in Motor Vehicle Branch Offices throughout the state and over the Internet. Specifically, the brochure provides information regarding the process for indicating on a driver's license a person's intent to be an organ donor. The brochure also provides the telephone numbers of various organ and tissue donation organizations, should individuals have questions regarding the organ donation process.

"The decision to become an organ donor is a personal one," said Secretary Gwadosky. "However, once a person makes this decision it is important that this decision be discussed with family members," Secretary Gwadosky continued. "Since one way for a person to express the intent to be a donor is through a driver's license, I am hopeful that the information contained in this brochure will be helpful in opening up this discussion with family members."

Although organ donation has increased in recent years, there is still a great need for organ and tissue donation. Nationally, there are over 71,000 people who are on a waiting list for organ and tissue donation. Each year approximately 5,800 people die while waiting for a transplant.

"Valentine's Day, traditionally, is a day for special gifts to loved ones. Making the decision to be an organ donor, and communicating this decision to your family, may be one of the most important gifts you ever give, and one of the most important gifts anyone can receive," said Secretary Gwadosky.

The brochures are currently available at the 13 Bureau of Motor Vehicle Branch offices and on the Department of the Secretary of State's web site at www.state.me.us/sos/bmv/organ.htm.

Additional information regarding organ and tissue donation may be obtained from:

New England Organ Bank, 1-800-446-6362, www.neob.org
National Kidney Foundation of Maine, 1-800-639-7220, www.kidneyme.org
Maine Transplant Program, 1-800-870-5320, www.mmc.org/nephrology/main.html