After Dustin Yaeger, 23, was in an automobile crash in September 2003, his family was called to Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.
"That is good," Mallon said. "That puts us in about the top 15 percent nationwide.
"But it's not enough, because nationally, we have a waiting list for organs for 106,000 people. In Wisconsin, that number is about 1,500."
More donors are needed, because the reality is only 3 percent of deaths result in suitable organ donation opportunities.
Organ donation proponents hope the Web site will make it more convenient for people to sign up -- and make it easier for both medical professionals and families, when time is critical and emotions are strong.
"Who has time to go through (personal effects) -- and who wants to go back to the scene -- and look for a license," Garton said. "That's why this thing is really nice, the registry."
"Typically, a license is not available," she said. "We can understand that if there is an accident, (the victim's) belongings get bagged away and secured by the people who respond, and that is kept separate from the donation professionals and families."
Kathy Schultz, marketing director for the transplant and organ procurement team at University of Wisconsin-Madison hospitals, sees the registry as not only a plus for donor recipients but also for donor families.
"I think that's probably the biggest impetus for our Donate Life Wisconsin -- putting this registry together is to help grieving families know at that traumatic time that this is what their loved one wanted."
Garton said she did not know whether her son, who would have celebrated his 30th birthday this summer, wished to be a donor, but she doesn't regret her decision. She said it would have been more tragic to decline the opportunity and find out months later it was what her son wanted.
"We never discussed it," Garton said. "But he was such a giving person and very healthy."
The donation doesn't lessen the tragedy, but picturing hospitalized people waiting for life-saving organs, she says she knows she did the right thing.
Garton has been in touch with one recipient, who lives in Illinois. She has no idea how many others might have been helped. Depending on the circumstances, up to eight organs can be donated -- kidneys, lungs, heart, pancreas, liver and intestines, in addition to corneas and tissue.
Within a month after her son's funeral, Garton had that orange dot on her license, and she hopes the convenience of online access encourages others to sign on as a donor.
"That's why I think this Web site will really make a difference," she said.