Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White recently made a stop at Rend Lake College to discuss the state’s new organ and tissue donor registry following the unveiling of an ad campaign aimed at saving more lives.
The state’s new organ donor registry ensures a person’s decision to donate organs and tissue following his or her death will be carried out. Previously, the decision was not legally binding and remained with the person’s family. Because of that, nearly 20 percent of consenting donors had their decision overturned.
Donors who registered before Jan. 1, 2006, need to re-register with the Secretary of State’s office to ensure their wishes are honored. White noted the process only takes a minute and can be completed by clicking on www.LifeGoesOn.com, by visiting any Illinois state driver’s license facility, or by calling the Illinois Secretary of State Organ / Tissue Donor Program at 1-800-210-2106.
“Donor registration is an excellent way to dedicate yourself and make a difference by helping save the lives of others,” said White. “This year we are focused on raising awareness for Illinois’ new donor registry. We want everyone to join this new registry because it ensures the donor’s wishes will be honored. The new registry will lead to increased transplants and save more lives.”
According to White, Illinois leads the nation in the organ donor charge, with six million registered donors.
“One person can improve the life or quality of life of 25 people,” White said. “When you donate your organs, you’re a hero.”
John Riley (Dix), whose 10-year-old son, also named John, was killed several years ago after being struck by a car, said they made the difficult decision to make their son an organ donor. They know now that John’s organs saved four people’s lives and gave two people sight.
“He’s a hero because he’s an ordinary person doing extraordinary things,” said Riley of his son. They have created an endowed scholarship with the RLC Foundation in memory of their son.
White’s first stop at the college was the Truck Driver Training facility on the campus’ southwest corner, where he spoke to the students and Instructor Rodney Summers and answered questions.
White then was treated to an excellent meal courtesy of the Rend Lake College Culinary Arts program students and Chef Instructors Brian Kalata and Loughton Smith.
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