Oxford resident Dave Yish would not be here today had it not been for an organ donor who gave him a new heart and a new lease on life five years ago.
, has made the most of his gift and now encourages others to become organ donors through his position as vice chairperson for Donate Life Connecticut, the state branch of a national organization dedicated to increasing the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors.
So it came as little surprise that Yish lauded Tuesday’s announcement that the mega-popular social networking site Facebook is making it easier for people to sign up as organ donors. It was a major success for Donate Life and people all over the country who, like Yish, spend most days encouraging others to become donors.
“Those of us who have been personally affected in some way, as a recipient, living donor, family member of a deceased donor, or caregiver of a recipient, all talk about our experiences to spread the word,” Yish said Monday. “The Facebook effort, proudly posting how one has been touched and their involvement, fits perfectly into what Donate Life is all about.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement Tuesday morning in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.”
David Fleming, president and CEO of Donate Life America, said in a news release that he wants to encourage every Facebook user to take a moment and update their timeline, register to be a donor, and share their decision with family and friends.
“It is a simple way to provide hope for those in need,” Fleming said.
The news release said the partnership signifies a giant step for the organ, eye and tissue donation community, bringing major exposure to the need for more registered donors and leading the public to officially designate themselves as donors, providing hope to the more than 114,000 men, women and children currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Thousands more await needed tissue or corneal transplants to resume normal lives or restore sight, according to the news release.
Here in Oxford, CT, where Yish was rushing off after work Tuesday night to bring his 14-year-old son to baseball practice, the heart transplant recipient said he was struck with how Zuckerberg heard of the need for organ and tissue donation.
“His girlfriend (a medical student) came across organ and tissue donation through her studies and passed it along to him,” Yish said. “It made me think of how we are doing that every day in Connecticut and across the country."
To find out more about Donate Life America or to register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit www.facebook.com/DonateLife.
(Note: Zuckerberg also told the Associated Press he was inspired by his friendship with late Apple founder, who had received a liver transplant before he died on Oct. 5.)
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How to share that you are an organ, eye and tissue donor on Facebook:
• Go to your Timeline
• Click on “Life Event”
• Select “Health and Wellness” and choose “Organ Donor” (You can add where and when you registered here)
• Add your personal story.
If you have not officially registered with your local authority you can:
• Select the link “Officially Register” from the right hand side of the dialog box.
• A new tab will open with instructions on how to officially register.
• Remember you can always control who you share your donor status with.
• To select who can see your donor status, click on the “Privacy Control.”
• You can make it public or limit it to just a small group of friends or just family.
When you are done:
• Select “Save.”
• Your organ donor status will appear both on your Timeline and in your “About” section.
Other Useful Information:
• If a friend has added their donor status to their Timeline, you may see it in your Newsfeed. You can add your donor status to your Timeline from there by clicking “Share.”