May 22, 2012 - US Heath and Human Services - An effort to educate adults 50 and older about the importance of registering to be organ, eye, and tissue donors was launched today in observance of Older Americans Month. The campaign was developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in partnership with the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging.
More than 114,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list for an organ, and more than 100 of them die each week waiting for an organ that never comes. In 2011, people 50 and older accounted for 32 percent of donors but 60 percent of the total number of transplants.
“It’s important for everyone to know any age can be the right age to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor,” said Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Imagine how many more lives we could save if the majority of the more than 99 million Americans 50 years old, or older signed up to give the gift of life.”
The 50 plus campaign was developed to dispel the myth that there are age limitations for giving the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation or for being a transplant recipient. Adults well into their 90s have successfully donated organs, extending the lives of recipients. Campaign materials include a brochure in English and Spanish; an article; radio and print public service announcements; and web banners.
“A poll conducted of adults in the United States shows that the majority of them believe organ donation is the right thing to do, but many of those have not yet taken the next step of signing up on a donor registry,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “Together we can add to the more than 100 million people who have signed up.”