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State Law Gives More Power To Organ Donors

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Most people who want to be organ donors mark it on their driver's license or carry a donor card, but that does not automatically mean your wishes will be carried out. A new law now gives more power to those donor cards.

Choosing to become an organ donor is a personal choice. A new bill, signed into law by Gov. Mike Easley, will make sure a person's wishes about becoming an organ donor are carried out. The Organ and Tissue Registry Bill makes organ donor cards legal documents.

Before, all they indicated was that you wanted to be a donor. The final decision was up to your family.

"Even if you had indicated on your driver's license, even if you carried a donor card, it would still be your family's decision," said Renee Miller of Carolina Donor Services.

The bill also proposes a statewide registry to keep track of organ donors.

"Sometime within the next 16-18 months, we expect everything to be in place to start the registry," said Sen. Howard Lee (D-Orange).

Supporters hope the law will get more people to become organ donors. Tara Parker received a heart transplant six months ago. At age 27, she feels like she is finally living her life.

"Seeing my family, seeing the sun and the rain, it's wonderful," she said. "My donor family gave me my life. They really did."

The new law takes effect Jan. 1. Donor cards will be available at DMVs across the state. Donor cards must be signed, dated and witnessed by two people.


Ken Bodine, Photographer
Andrea Moody, Producer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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