By Monica Drake | For the Daily Tribune
New design of Michigan license helps raise awareness of organ donation.
Alexis Johnson died in a playground accident from a brain aneurysm when a ball hit her in the head in 2009.
Last year, the Auburn Hills girl’s father was able to meet Bradley, the boy who received the 8-year-old’s organs, both corneas, blood and tissue.
“The best thing in the world was when we were able to watch Bradley play soccer,” Rick Johnson said. “He was out there running and playing. He’s an amazing little kid.”
Nearly 3,000 Michigan residents await a lifesaving organ transplant, but only 28 percent of the state’s population age 18 and older is listed on the registry, according to the state.
At the end of March, the design of Michigan licenses changed to make it easier to understand the process of becoming a donor.
Tim Makinen, corporate communications director of Gift of Life, said on the previous license there was a spot on the back to sign to donate organs after death. The spot is not on the new license; interested donors must instead sign up to be on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and receive a heart emblem that appears on the front of the license.
“There were many, many people who thought they joined the registry because they had a signature on the back of their license,” said Makinen. “The back smears, it’s hard to read, and in addition, if your license isn’t with you at the time of death, people might not know that’s what your wish was. But with the heart sticker, you’re actually in a confidential database, which can be accessed whether your license is with you or not.”
Livonia resident Stacey Troxtel’s 3-year-old son Aidan received a kidney transplant from an organ donor at the end of 2009. “We think of heroes as baseball players, presidents, but there are heroes right next to you signing up to save a life. It means the world to me. My 3-year-old son is here today because somebody decided to sign up for the registry,” said Troxtel.