Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

The Morris County Board of Freeholders today issued a proclamation declaring Sunday, Feb. 14, as National Donor Day in Morris County, with a goal of calling attention to the constant need for organ and tissue donations that could save the lives of those on waiting lists.

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(l/r) Freeholders Doug Cabana, Hank Lyon and Deborah Smith, Connie Hagelin and Jeanne Blanchard of the NJ Sharing Network, and Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo

The freeholders awarded the proclamation to Jeanne Blanchard, marketing manager of the NJ Sharing Network, and Connie Hagelin, of Morristown, who is the sister of a recent heart transplant recipient.

“More than 122,000 people in the United States are waiting for a life-saving transplant and nearly 5,000 live right here in New Jersey, and nationwide 22 people die each day while waiting for the gift of life,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.

“We urge our residents to consider helping to save people’s lives by registering as organ and tissue donors.’’

Hagelin, of Morristown, told the freeholders that her sister underwent a life-saving heart transplant less than three months ago.

“It certainly saved her life and I know there are many other people out there waiting for transplants … people who need your help,’’ said Hagelin, who urged county residents to become potential donors.

The New Providence-based NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization that is responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for New Jersey residents currently awaiting transplantation.

NJ Sharing Network was formed in June 1987 when three New Jersey organ procurement organizations merged. Later that year, legislation passed by both state and federal governments, known as Required Request/Assured Option, began requiring hospitals to present the option of donation to family members of potential donors.

NJ Sharing Network

Since then, NJ Sharing Network and the NJ Sharing Network Foundation has worked to educate the public about how transplantation can save lives with the goal of increasing the number of organ donors.

Here are some facts from NJ Sharing Network about the need for transplants:

  • More than 1,000 New Jersey residents were added to the waiting list in 2015, and every day 3 New Jersey residents are added to that list, and every 3 days a New Jersey resident will die waiting for an organ transplant;
  • Good News: In New Jersey, more than 500 life-saving transplants were performed in 2015
  • Sobering News: But the number of New Jerseyans currently waiting for organ transplants include: 22 people for heart transplants; 2,913 people for kidneys; 39 for kidney/pancreas transplants; 215 for liver transplants; 2 for lungs; and 23 for pancreas transplants;
  • Tens of thousands of people in the country and many hundreds in New Jersey are in need of tissue transplants, such as corneas to restore sight, bone and other tissue to repair injured or diseased bones and joints, skin to heal burns and to be used in post-mastectomy surgery, and heart valves to replace diseased valves, and

Organ procurement organizations such as NJ Sharing Network can provide information to help you register as an organ and tissue donor;

If you need more information about organ and tissue transplants and/or how to register for donations, visit the NJ Sharing Network: https://www.njsharingnetwork.org/ or the Gift of Life Donor Program: http://www.donors1.org/

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission also offers three ways to become an organ and tissue donor in New Jersey. People can add their name to the donor registry during a driver’s license or I.D. transaction, register online at www.njmvc.gov or request a paper registration at (800) 742-7365.