Organization urges new drivers to become organ donors


PANAMA CITY — A local organization delivered both a sobering reminder and an uplifting message to area students as they completed driver’s education last week. The Pensacola-based nonprofit LifeQuest urged Bay District Schools students to consider becoming organ donors after taking their license exam.

“When people give the gift of organ and tissue donation, they give the gift of life to those who are on the waiting list,” Phillip Van Stavern, public education coordinator for LifeQuest, told students during their driver’s education graduation ceremony.

Florida has one of the most extensive organ donation waiting lists, with 5,500 patients needing a life-saving transplant. As science advances, Van Stavern said doctors are more open to placing patients on the list who otherwise could not be treated. But more names means more demand, and in 2015, Van Stavern said, 284 people died waiting. Continue reading
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