Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Madison Nebeker Richardson, a cornea recipient, gets a hug after speaking during a press conference about organ donation at the Utah Hospital Association in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

Finally, a New Year’s resolution that worked.

In past years, the people of Utah were challenged to make a New Year’s resolution to help save lives and sign up on the Utah Donor Registry. Well, people listened, they made their resolutions and phenomenal things happened.

In 2017, the Utah Donor Registry reached a new level of over 1,655,000 people, with about 77 percent of licensed drivers in Utah signed up. Compared with the rest of the nation, Utah has one of the highest rates of participation on a donor registry. This says a lot about the giving, caring nature of the citizens of Utah.

Because of these high participation rates, good things happen. For example, more lives were saved than ever before. Over 370 people received lifesaving transplants in 2016 because people said “yes” to organ donation. Again, that's people caring about people and doing something about it. While we do not have the exact figures for 2017, lives saved will again be well over 300. In addition, many others benefited from tissue and cornea donations.

We are looking forward to 2018. The world will be watching Salt Lake City as we host the Donate Life Transplant Games. Transplant recipients will come from throughout the United States to compete in various events and show the world that transplant not only works, but that transplant recipients are living healthy, active lives.

2 comments on this story

Thanks to the people of Utah, who care so much about their fellow citizens, we are ending the suffering of many waiting for transplants. If you haven’t joined the Utah Donor Registry, I challenge you to make one of your New Year’s resolutions to help others. If you have a red Y on your driver's license or state ID card, you are already signed up on the Donor Registry. If not, there is a simple online process. Log on to www.yesutah.org or your computer, tablet or smartphone and click the button labeled "Sign me up." If you don't have access to the online registry, simply call 866-937-8824 and ask for a paper registration form.

Get the facts and help save lives. You will be a superhero in the eyes of the 800 people in Utah who are awaiting a transplant.

Keep up the good work, Utah. The rest of the nation looks to our giving state as a beacon of hope for what they want to accomplish.