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Circuit Clerk’s office celebrates New Organ Donation Awareness Plate during Donate Life Month

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Join Circuit Clerk, Teresa Furnish, in recognizing National Donate Life Month this April, a month-long celebration that showcases the various perspectives of those touched by donation and transplantation. Every year since 2002, April has been filled with stories to spread the lifesaving message of donation in order to motivate people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. This year is especially exciting as the release date for the new Donation Awareness plate will be launched on April 1. Everyone can register as a donor today at www.donatelifeky.org or saying “yes” when you renew your driver’s license.
Carolyn Adkins, from Pike County, is certainly thankful for the lifesaving gift of donation. She had lived a healthy life, even teaching Silver Sneakers workout classes, but she began to lose energy. She went to the hospital and learned that only 25 percent of her heart was working. A heart transplant was her only hope for a life. “You read this sort of thing that happens to other people. I’m just a regular person, but it happened to me and my family.”
Fortunately, a matching donor was found and now Carolyn is living life to the fullest and sharing her story to show the lifesaving power of donation. “My donor is the real hero. I’m very thankful for them and pray for them.  They are indescribably wonderful. I have a wonderful life now - through God, through my donor family, through my doctors.”
Sam loves doing things any 10-year-old boy loves to do: drawing, fishing and riding his bike. But he cannot do much in his current state of health. Sam needs a lifesaving pancreas, small bowl and liver transplant, so he can go back to being a normal kid again. Sam has a champion in his mom, Mallory, who is fully invested in spreading the message of Donate Life.
“We have Donate Life license plates for our cars, distribute bracelets and pass out brochures,” said Mallory. “We take part in events at Sam’s school and in the local community, doing anything we can to share the importance of registering as a donor. We are so hopeful that Sam will receive the transplant he needs, and we hope to take a family trip to the beach once that happens!”
Approximately half of the U.S. adult population is registered as donors, including 1.5 million Kentuckians. Still, the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of donor organs. On average, 21 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time. Registering to become a donor is the most effective way to ensure you can save lives through donation and serves as a sign of hope to those like Sam who continue to wait.
On April 1, there is an extra way to show your support for this mission. Kentucky will now have a Donate Life license plate available for purchase. Please note: License plates are issued at the County Clerks, not the Circuit Clerk’s office.
Your Circuit Clerk’s office is looking forward to this new awareness opportunity for a mission close to their hearts.  Furnish has been a longtime supporter of the gift of organ donation by working with the KY Circuit Clerks’ Trust For Life. Each day, the driver’s license office helps to save lives by growing the confidential Kentucky Organ Donor Registry.
“This mission is easy to stand behind, as we all know someone who has been touched by the gift of donation and miracle of transplantation. It is an honor to help save lives and educate the public about the importance of organ donation through the dollars we collect at driver’s license and by growing the Registry. We ask every person that comes in if they would like to be a registered organ donor,” explains Furnish.
The Donate Life plate encourages individuals to put the gift of donation into perspective stating ‘Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Saves Lives’. This statement illustrates the grandeur of what a simple “yes” at the driver’s license office has the ability to do. Similarly, it gives passionate individuals the opportunity to publically show their support for this worthy cause.
To purchase your special Donate Life plate, visit your County Clerk’s office after April 1. Special thanks to everyone who made this plate possible including: Second Chance volunteers, UK HealthCare, UL Lions Eye Bank, Jewish Hospital, the estate of Bruce Kustes, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, and Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ Trust For Life.
To register as a donor, learn about the license plate, or to get involved, call 1-866-945-5433.