Despite years of effort, Illinois is still short of the organ donors the state needs. Secretary of State Jesse White kicked off his annual appeal to people to sign up via their driver’s licenses. He says some people are hesitant because they think if they’re organ donors, doctors won’t try hard to save their lives, or they won’t look good at an open-casket wake. He says these are myths.
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“They will say that the organs will be sold. Here in this country of ours, we cannot sell organs. They’ll say that the rich man will get his organs before the other individual whose name may appear on the list. Those are all myths, and so we’re spending a lot of time dispelling those myths,” he said. White says he has enlisted preachers to assure their parishioners that there is no religious reason not to be an organ donor.
Illinois has 5.2 million registered organ donors, yet there are 5,000 people waiting for organs, and 300 people die each year waiting. More than 25 people can benefit from the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, intestines, corneas, veins, heart valves, bones and skin of a single donor.