Written by Karina Vailes | The Talk of the Town
Holly Hatten knows the drill well. She pays her fee, answers a few questions, steps in front of the camera lens and -- voila -- she is done renewing her driver's license.
But this year, while the renewal process was as fast as it has always been, Hatten's license looked a bit different.
A tiny red-colored heart was placed next to her photo and below it, the word "DONOR."
"I just signed up," Hatten said with a smile Monday as she walked toward the exit of the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles on Coliseum Boulevard in Alexandria, where dozens of other people came in and out.
Hatten's decision to become a donor means that she is willing to donate organs upon her death, and with that help one or more of the 110,000 Americans, including 1,800 Louisianians, whose lives hinge on organ transplants.
"I think it is a good idea. It will help save lives," said Hatten, who has had a license for the past seven years, but only recently became increasingly aware of the significance of signing up as an organ donor.
"Just hearing different stories of people you can help save, and I've lost close ones, that could have used an organ (transplant), but didn't have them," Hatten said.
Hatten also chose a good day to sign up as a donor. The Alexandria OMV office, in partnership with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, was hosting the My State Cares program.
It's a one-day initiative to encourage people to say "yes" to organ and tissue donation, explained Larabee Thompson, LOPA family advocate.
Thompson and Lynn Herrington, also with LOPA, had an informational booth set up at the OMV on Monday.
They passed out brochures and candy treats, and talked to patrons about the benefits of organ donation.
Thompson, whose 7-year-old son, Garrett Patrick Thompson, was a donor, said giving someone a second chance at life is like perpetuating life itself for the donor.
"Garrett's life continues to make an impact even after his death," Thompson said, adding that while the sadness of losing a loved one will always be there, there is also sense of hope in knowing her son's organs helped someone else live.