November 13, 2014
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Reminds Houses of Worship of National Donor Sabbath

AUGUSTA – This weekend, Nov. 14-16, marks the annual National Donor Sabbath, when faith leaders throughout the nation are encouraged to discuss organ donation with their congregants.

The concept of organ donation is very personal for many people, as it involves questions of life and death, which is why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has approached faith organizations to discuss the topic and encourage people to sign up as donors.

The Maine Department of the Secretary of State, through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, allows anyone with a Maine driver’s license or State ID card to sign up for the registry easily – either online or when they renew their license in person. Information about organ donation, including frequently asked questions, common myths about organ donation, and the personal stories of transplant recipients and donors, is also available on the state website.

The gift of life is something we often take for granted and we dont always consider the dual meaning of the phrase, said Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. No one ever plans for something to go wrong, and we hope nothing ever does. But in the event a tragedy spins beyond our control, the act of planning ahead for a gift of life to someone else can be a life-saving effort.

We work with our partners at the New England Organ Donor Bank to make this process easy for people, and are pleased to work with the community of faith to get the word out on this important effort.”

According to the DHHS, more than 100 million people are registered organ donors, but additional donors are needed; more than 120,000 people are on the organ transplant waiting list and an average of 18 people on the list will die each day, waiting for organs. In Maine, 29 organ donors made 101 life-saving organ transplants possible, while 200 tissue donors helped save and improve many lives, in 2013 alone.

Faith leaders who would like to have their worship community participate can find National Donor Sabbath materials online, in a brochure that also includes an explanation of each major faith’s beliefs surrounding organ donation. For more information on the National Donor Sabbath, contact the U.S. Division of Transplantation 301-443-7577.