2,458 Marylanders await an organ or tissue donation

(GLEN BURNIE, MD) April 11, 2013 - April is National Donate Life Month and Donate Life Maryland (DLM) and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) are teaming up to generate awareness. Designed to engage interest in organ, eye and tissue donation among Maryland residents, a ceremony, held today, featured testimonials and facts about organ donation. Raising a Donate Life flag on the flagpole in front of the MVA's headquarters on Ritchie Highway, Donate Life Maryland also planted 2,458 smaller flags on the MVA's front lawn to represent all the Marylanders who are waiting for an organ or tissue donation.

"The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration is committed to organ donor awareness. Not only are we hoisting the green flag and wearing our Donate Life Maryland t-shirts for the month, we are also working with the Maryland driver education schools to incorporate information about life saving donations in their curriculum," said MVA Administrator John T. Kuo.

The MVA employees are considered "heroes are on the front lines of donor designation," because ninety-eight percent of all designated donors are registered through the MVA. Since 1998, individuals who answered "yes" to the organ donor question during the MVA driver's license or identification card transaction have received a red heart on their driver's license; designating them as organ, eye and tissue donors.

Jennifer Gelman, on behalf of Donate Life Maryland, explained, "It only takes one donor to save the lives of up to 9 people or enhance the lives of up to 50 people, but many people choose not to designate themselves as donors because they don't know enough about donation. Our hope is that, through this awareness program with MVA, more Marylanders will choose to designate when renewing their license or go online to sign up anytime on donatelifemaryland.org."

All of today's speakers wore the new Heroes in Disguise scarves and ties, designed by Anne Lee, a junior pursuing her BFA at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The whimsical design will be worn by various community partners including Maryland media personnel, local dignitaries, civic and community leaders during Donate Life Month and beyond.

Gene Cassidy, a Baltimore City Police officer injured in the line of duty, spoke of his experience this past year as he waited and then received a much needed liver. During a moving moment for all today, one small flag was removed and given to Cassidy who raised it high in triumph, celebrating his organ donor hero.

During today's event, a respectful moment of quiet remembrance was observed as a show of appreciation to current registered donors as well as the more than 400 organ, eye and tissue donors in Maryland whose generosity helps thousands enjoy a second chance at life.