Organ-donation campaign urges people to give the gift of life

Reading Eagle | Matthew Nojiri

Pennsylvania is a leader in organ transplants, said Howard M. Nathan, president and CEO of Gift of Life Donor Program.

Last year, the Philadelphia-based Gift of Life coordinated 483 organ donations in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, the most of any organ procurement organization in the country.

But when it comes to residents registering to be organ donors, the state is closer to average, with about 47 percent of residents signing up, Nathan said.

"In other states, you could go to Utah or Alaska and they are in the 70s," he said of organ donation registration percentage.

Next month, a five-month campaign for organ donation awareness begins throughout Pennsylvania. The campaign asks the state's hospitals and health systems to promote the topic in their buildings and encourage more people in the community to register to become donors. Continue reading