--Pilot Study to Boost Organ and Tissue Registry Comes to Houston--
HOUSTON – Houstonians were presented with a challenge of registering more Texans as organ and tissue donors today as transplant recipients, donor families and those on the waiting list gathered for LifeGift’s “2nd Annual Celebration of Life” at the Texas Medical Center.
Rex Maus, a resident of Missouri City and a liver transplant recipient, announced the official launch of Donate Life Houston, a pilot study created to boost the number of registered organ and tissue donors in the state of Texas. Maus and his wife, Linda, along with Dallas Foster, a heart transplant recipient, will lead this grassroots effort in conjunction with LifeGift, the local organ and tissue recovery agency.
“Texas, one of the most populous states in the country, with 24 million residents, only has a little more than half a million of its adult population, those over the age of 18, registered as organ and tissue donors,” said Maus. “Our goal with Donate Life Houston is to get 80 percent of Houstonians registered as organ and tissue donors, raising the awareness level about donation throughout the greater Houston area.”
LifeGift and other organ procurement organizations across the country work with the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and Donate Life America, its educational counterpart to educate the public on organ and tissue donation. The creation of Donate Life Houston is the first and only time Donate Life America has agreed to allow an entity other than a state use the Donate Life logo and its affiliation in an official capacity. The goal for the organization is to serve as a successful model for other major cities to follow.
In 2006, Donate Life America launched a national effort to improve donation rates by ensuring that each state had an effective system for allowing individuals to register as organ and tissue donors. Four years later, all 50 states now have some form of electronic donor registry, including the Glenda P. Dawson Donate Life-Texas Registry.
When compared to other states, Texas comes in last in terms of the number of registered organ and tissue donors. In 2009, Wyoming led the way with 81 percent of its adult population registered. Rounding out the top 10 states were Alaska, Montana and Oregon with more the 70 percent. Indiana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington and Colorado reported more than 60 percent.
“Donate Life Houston is a unique opportunity for Houston to lead the way for the entire state and help the more than 9,000 Texans currently in need of lifesaving organ transplants,” said Sam Holtzman, president and CEO of LifeGift. “I challenge Houston to embrace this chance to shine providing an example for the rest of Texas to follow.”
As of April 14, there were 106,954of people across the country waiting for organ transplants and thousands of others waiting for life-enhancing tissue transplants. More than 2,515 are on waiting lists at local Houston hospitals.
LifeGift is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization dedicated to recovering organs and tissue for individuals needing transplants in 109 Texas counties in North Texas, Southeast Texas and West Texas. For more information, go to www.lifegift.org or 1-800-633-6562.
About Donate Life Houston
Founded in 1945, Texas Medical Center has grown to become the largest medical complex in the world. It is composed of 49 institutions, all of which are self-governing. Half are agencies of government: federal, state, county, city and local and the other half are private not-for-profit institutions, several of which are large health care systems. The goal of the Texas Medical Center institutions is to improve the health status of people everywhere through research, education and patient care.
Texas Medical Center, the corporation, encourages collaboration among institutions and provides many services to what has become the 12th largest business district in the United States with over 45 million square feet of built space. Former First Lady Barbara Bush has recognized the Texas Medical Center as "Houston's gift to the World". For more information, visit www.tmc.edu