As mentioned in an earlier post, increasing organ donation has been one of the focal points for Secretary White. In 1991, Doris Ivy – the sister of the Secretary, had a life-saving kidney transplant that fostered Secretary Whites passionate support for donation in Illinois.Subsequent to this unfortunate event, Secretary White began his almost 2-decade long campaign for promoting organ and tissue donation throughout the state, passionately attending meetings, school presentations, and local community events.
Here’s a brief overview of the history of the organ & tissue donor program: (More detailed information on history can be found here)
- 1992 The Secretary of State becomes the third state in the nation to create a Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. A 1-800-210-2106 telephone line was established for the program as well.
- 1993 The Illinois General Assembly began heavily funding for the promotion of the Organ & Tissue Donor program in Driver Services facilities across the state
- 1995 Drivers Ed/Health classes across the state are now insisted to educate students on the registry and importance of donation. Pamphlets, videos, and brochures were made available to them as well as speakers free-of-charge.
- 1995 Many promotional infographics such as billboards and other promotional materials were made available in Spanish
- 1996 A large public awareness campaign for organ & tissue donation among the African American community was launched
- 2003 The Organ Donor Leave Act was passed with allows for state employees who donated to take paid time off
- 2005 The First Person Consent law was passed which makes donation legally binding. Anyone can be removed from the list at any time through request at the 1-800 phone number mentioned above
- 2009 A statewide campaign was initiated with Blue Cross Blue Shield
- 2012 The “Be a Hero” campaign was initiated to target college students to join the registry
- 2014 A partnership was re-proposed and begun with the Health Department of the United States.
- 2016 Drivers facilities statewide were encouraged to present stories from local families about their experiences with organ
- 2017 The “What If” campaign was initiated – promoting stories of recipients and ‘what if’ they never received their life-saving organ
- 2018 The legislation allowing for 16 and 17 year olds to join the donor registry was made effective