October 1, 2019 - Do you have the heart to save lives? On October 1, 2019, saving and healing lives in North Carolina will become easier when the heart symbol on state drivers’ licenses and ID cards once again represents organ, eye and tissue donation.
Earlier this year, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed into law SB 210 Organ and Tissue Donation/Heart Heroes, making North Carolina consistent with the rest of the nation by including tissue for transplantation along with organs and eyes when one says “Yes” to donation at the DMV.
Heart Heroes Legislation Impact
Today, anyone who says “Yes” to donation at the DMV will be making a legal first-person authorization to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor upon death. Those who had the heart symbol placed on their drivers’ license or ID card before October 1, 2019 must take an extra step to add tissue donation to their registry status by visiting DonateLifeNC.org.
Prior to 2007, the heart symbol on the drivers’ license and state ID cards represented organ, eye and tissue donation. When North Carolina passed the Heart Prevails legislation in 2007, it changed one’s intention to a legal decision to become a donor and tissue was excluded. North Carolina became the only state in the nation where tissue for transplantation was not included in the first-person authorization at the DMV. North Carolinians who wanted to save and heal lives through tissue donation were required to take an extra step and register online. More than 1.1 million North Carolinians registered to donate at the DMV in 2018, but only 5,637 people registered online.
“This is huge step toward saving and healing more lives,” said Danielle Niedfeldt, RN, JD, President and CEO, Carolina Donor Services. “Donated tissue restores mobility, strength, and hope to thousands of people. It can help bone cancer and burn survivors, patients needing heart valves, or those with torn ligaments, and women needing breast reconstruction surgery.”
One organ, eye and tissue donor can save and heal more than 75 lives, and each year, one in 20 Americans will require some type of tissue transplant.
“The DMV is a critical partner in saving lives,” said Niedfeldt. “99.9% of North Carolinians who say yes to donation do so at the DMV. This small but significant change of including tissue donation in the DMV registration will help us to save and heal more lives than ever before.”
Changes to one’s donor registration status can be made anytime at www.DonateLifeNC.org.