A Wyoming Department of Health representative is urging residents to make sure they are signed up and included on the state’s organ and tissue donor registry.
“The simple act of checking “yes” when asked about organ and tissue donation on your driver’s license form can have a dramatic impact on the lives of many others,” said Cherame Serrano, Wyoming Cares/Wyoming Shares program coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Health. “One donor can help save up to eight lives through organ donation and help heal more than 100 people through tissue donation.”
In 2010, Wyoming was 4th in the nation with 59.6 percent of individuals with driver licenses and ID cards joining the donor registry. “We’re proud Wyoming historically has a high donor designation rate and has been in the top ten for many years,” Serrano said. “We’d like to see our rates go even higher.”
Residents can check their licenses to see if they are included in the registry. Wyoming licenses issued in recent years have a small red heart symbol in the upper right hand area to indicate donors.
Serrano said about 145 Wyoming residents are waiting for transplants and anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race or medical history.
How to become a designated organ donor in Wyoming:
- Sign up with the Wyoming Department of Transportation when you apply for or renew a Wyoming driver’s license
- Register on-line at http://www.donatelifewyoming.org/
- Request and return a mail-in registration form. Forms can be requested by calling 307-777-3527 or by mail from Wyoming Cares/Wyoming Shares, 6101 Yellowstone Rd, Suite 259B, Cheyenne, WY 82002.
“If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased,” Serrano said. There is no cost to the donor or the donor’s family for organ or tissue donation.
When Wyoming residents register to be an organ and tissue donor, they make an advanced directive that will be honored at the time of death if they are eligible to be a donor. “If you are eligible to be a donor, your family will be informed of your decision to be a donor at the time of your death and they’ll be asked to provide information about your history,” Serrano said.
Serrano noted all major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and an open casket funeral remains possible for organ, eye and tissue donors. Those wishing to only donate certain organs and/or tissue may list restrictions when filling out the registration form and restrictions are recorded in the donor registry.
Together with a number of partner organizations, the Wyoming Department of Health’s Wyoming Cares/Wyoming Shares Program helps promote organ donation in the state.