Source: KGET TV 17
Every day in the United States, 19 people die waiting for an organ transplant because of a severe shortage of donors. Now, a California lawmaker is trying to make it easier to sign up.
"They told us that he was brain dead. And, they asked us, there was no hesitation. We looked at each other, and said yes," said Irma Boyar.
It was a question many of us don't even think about. It was a question Irma Boyar never thought she would have to answer.
On May 7, 2006, her son, 31-year-old Carlos Ortiz, Jr. was killed in a drunk driving crash in downtown Bakersfield. Ortiz wasn't wearing a seat belt and died when he was thrown from the car.
When Boyar got to the hospital, the emergency room staff asked her if she would like to donate his organs.
"There was no hesitation. He had so many friends. When I got up to the intensive care unit, the whole hallway was filled with his friends," said Boyar.
Ortiz's heart, kidneys, and liver saved four people. The following year, Boyar met the man who received her son's heart.
"In December of 2007, we traveled to L.A., and we got to meet him, and I heard my son's heartbeat in his chest. And that was awesome," she explained.
The man who received his heart is one of 110,000 people waiting for organs. California Assemblyman Jared Huffman from San Rafael is behind a bill that would give drivers more opportunities to donate by giving them the option to register as a donor when they renew their car registration online every year.
"California is still among the lowest of the states in the country in terms of voluntary signup for this program, so we have to just get the word out, and that's the concept behind this bill, provide more ways for folks, who I think want to do the right thing and save lives," said Huffman.
Boyar hopes the bill becomes law. "It's a wonderful gift, the gift of life," she said.
Right now, one of the only opportunities for people to donate an organ is when you apply for a driver's license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. For most drivers, this happens once every five years.
If you would like to sign up to become an organ donor, you can log onto Donate Life California