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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP|
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In recognition of February 14 as National Donor Day, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh today encouraged
National Donor Day calls attention to the critical need for life-saving donations and the variety of ways that people can become donors. Valentines Day has been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as an ideal time to raise awareness of the tens of thousands of people on waiting lists for organ transplants and bone marrow and other tissue transplants.
“Blood donations and successful organ or tissue transplants can cure diseases and save lives,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Alaigh. “When people become donors, they make a pledge that benefits not only the individuals who receive the donations, but the families of those recipients and ultimately their friends, neighbors and coworkers as they resume their daily lives.”
Through advances in medicine, organ and tissue donations have become a standard, successful treatment for many diseases and conditions. One donor can save or improve the lives of as many as 50 people.
Approximately 28,000 people get transplants in the
Blood and bone marrow are among the tissue donations that are in constant demand: blood for treating injuries, cancer, diseases such as hemophilia, and for use during surgeries; bone marrow for treatment of cancers, sickle cell anemia and other immune system and genetic disorders. Other life-saving tissue donations include skin, heart valves, bone, ligaments, veins and arteries.
However, the demand for organ and tissue donation vastly exceeds the number of donations. The need for donors is great and growing every day.
o According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 110,000 people in the
o Approximately 35,000 children and adults in this country have life-threatening blood diseases that could be treated by a bone marrow/blood stem cell or cord blood transplant, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
o The American Red Cross states that every two seconds someone in
The need for organ and tissue donations and the shortage of donors affects people of all ethnic backgrounds. However, minority groups are disproportionately affected. The need for organ donation is greatest among African Americans and Hispanics because they have higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and obesity – diseases which more often require organ transplants.
Currently, 53 percent of organ recipients are minorities, but only 15 percent are donors.
There are a number of Registries where people can join to become donors. The New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission helps drivers to register as organ and tissue donors online at www.state.nj.us/mvc/Licenses/organ_donor.htm or at their local agencies.
People interested in bone marrow and blood stem cell donation can register through the Be The Match Registry at www.marrow.org. To become a blood donor visit www.njsave3lives.com for a calendar of public blood drives and a list of local blood centers or contact the blood center nearest you.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360