Please become a donor during ‘Donate Life Month’
by TOM ROWLAND, Cleveland Mayor
Mar 29, 2012 | 576 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The month of April is “Donate Life Month” in Tennessee. The Donate Life Tennessee organization is the state’s official, nonprofit 501(c)(3) Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. It is solely dedicated to saving the lives of thousands of Tennesseans who are waiting for life-saving transplants.

Dawn Guthrie Benjamin is senior public relations director for the registry. She is a former Clevelander and a former Cleveland Daily Banner employee. Dawn does a great job getting the word out about this important mission. There are so many Clevelanders who have been a recipient of a needed organ donation and are alive today because someone chose to “donate life.”

In 2006, the state Senate unanimously passed the Donor Registry Bill, authorizing Tennessee’s two federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organizations to create and maintain an electronic registry of Tennesseans who consent to become organ and tissue donors.

Donate Life Tennessee allows you to document your commitment to organ and tissue donation. Because your registration information is immediately available to authorized donation professionals, the registry guarantees your decision will be honored when you die.

Individuals who consent to donation when they renew or apply for a driver’s license or ID with the Tennessee Department of Safety are included in the registry. As mandated by state law, donor consent data from the DOS is entered in the Donate Life Tennessee Registry once a week. Donna Simpson and her staff in Cleveland do a great job spreading the word and making sure organ donor wishes are conveyed to the registry.

Right now, nearly 1,900 Tennesseans wait for vital organ transplants. They are among the nearly 100,000 people across the U.S. hoping for a second chance at life. Tragically, one third of them will die waiting.

You have the power to save lives. Register today to become an organ and tissue donor! Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and greatly improve the quality of life for 50 more through tissue and cornea donation.

Dawn Benjamin advised me earlier this month that the organization is still trying to get the word out that you no longer need to sign the back of your license. The most efficient way to document your decision is on the Tennessee Donor Registry, which you can do at the DMV when you get or renew your license.

You may also sign up anytime online at Or for more local information, contact the Chattanooga office at 423-756-5736. What a legacy to leave your loved ones — that you saved a life with your donation.

April is a good month to make that “commitment to life.”