MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine is joining 13 other hospitals across the state in recognition of West Virginia Donor Day on Aug. 1.
To educate West Virginians about this critical need in their own backyard and rally them around a solution, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE); Donate Life West Virginia; Gov. Jim Justice; and other local partners, including the families of fallen Charleston Police Officer and organ donor Cassie Johnson and Cecil Lockhart, a West Virginian and oldest organ donor in U.S. history, are commemorating the first-ever West Virginia Donor Day. The 8/1 date highlights the fact that just one donor can save eight lives.
“Twenty people die every day because the organs they need are not donated in time,” Justice said. “The most effective way to address the public health crisis surrounding organ donor registrations is to encourage citizens to register as an organ, tissue, and cornea donor. We ask the citizens of the state of West Virginia to support and register in this life-saving initiative.”
More than 107,000 people are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in the United States, including 500 West Virginians. But only 30 percent of West Virginians are registered organ donors.
“The WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance is grateful for the support of CORE, which allows us to provide life-saving care close to home,” Michael Shullo, Pharm.D., WVU Medicine associate vice president of transplant services, said. “None of this would be possible without the selfless gift of registered donors.”
In his proclamation, Justice also acknowledged the giving community that already exists in West Virginia, demonstrated by the two consecutive record-breaking years for organ donation in the Mountain State achieved in 2019 and 2020.
The innovative partnership between CORE and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources sets a stage for this first-ever observance as well, having made possible more than 30,000 organ donor registrations via hunting and fishing license purchases since its inception in December 2019.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, anyone can register as an organ donor regardless of age or medical history. The decision to register not only holds the power to save eight lives, but also to heal the lives of 75 through tissue donation.
West Virginians can register as organ donors by visiting www.registerme.org/wvumedicine or their local DMV or when purchasing a hunting and fishing license.