Jesse White • Illinois Secretary of State

April is National Donate Life Month

National Donate Life Month is a celebration of the lifesaving gift of an organ or tissue transplant. Each April, we encourage individuals to learn about organ/tissue donation so they can make an informed and educated decision about signing up for the registry. Joining the Illinois Donor Registry only takes 30 seconds and can help change the lives of up to 25 people.

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2021 Organ/Tissue Donor Commercial

The 2021 organ/tissue donor commercial follows the transplant story of White Sox pitcher and announcer Ed Farmer.

For more than a decade, Ed, joined by White Sox players, participated in events at the James R. Thompson Center and Guaranteed Rate Field to promote the Secretary of State's Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. As an advocate for donation, Ed served on the board of directors for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation and testified in 1995 before the U.S. House of Representatives on the issue. In 2014, Ed was honored with a Champions Award from Donate Life America for his outstanding advocacy of organ donation. Read More

Three Types of Donation sun logo

Organ/Tissue Donation

The larger the donor pool, the greater the chance of a match for those waiting to receive a transplant. Organ and tissue donors save lives, restore sight and improve the quality of life for recipients across Illinois every day. In Illinois, 4,000 people wait for transplants of all kinds — kidney, liver, heart, lungs, small intestines and pancreas. These six organs can save the lives of as many as nine individuals. Donated tissues such as corneas, bones, ligaments and skin can vastly improve life for others. Every 10 minutes another name is added to the transplant waiting list in Illinois, and sadly, 22 people die each day when organs they need are not available. Many transplant recipients live long and healthy lives post-transplant and celebrate their transplant anniversaries as the day they were given their lifesaving gift. Read more about how you can help.

  • Objective – Provides organs for transplant to save lives.
  • Age – No minimum/maximum age to be a donor, age 16 to register
  • Cost – No cost to donor's family
  • Advanced Directive – Register decision or family decision sun logo

Living Donation

Living Donation is when an individual donates a whole or partial organ to another person. The most common living donation is a kidney, followed by a partial liver donation. Living organ donation was developed as a direct result of the critical shortage of deceased donors. Living donation provides individuals an opportunity to save a life while they are still alive, shortening the waiting time for the person who is in need of a transplant. Since there is no living donor registry, anyone considering becoming a living donor should discuss it with doctors at a transplant center. *Most people interested in being a living donor have someone in mind they want to help, but others have been altruistic donors — living donors to someone they do not know on the waiting list. Either way, the living donor has saved a life. Read more about how you can help.

  • Objective – Provides an organ from a living donor to save a life
  • Age – Generally 18 years of age
  • Cost – The health insurance of recipients pays for both
  • Advanced Directive – Work with person needing transplant and transplant center
  • Organ Donation Allowed – Yes sun logo

Whole Body Donation

This donation option is donating the body to science, also called whole body or willed body donation. In Illinois, willed body donation is regulated by the Anatomical Gift Association (AGA) located in Chicago. The AGA describes an anatomical gift as the donation of an individual's body after death. Allied health professionals and medical students study donations under the supervision of highly trained anatomists. They learn the fundamentals of human biology and anatomy through dissection and study of the bodies in regulated laboratories. As the AGA states, they assist in the training of thousands of medical students and health professionals annually, training that cannot be duplicated by computers or other means. In addition, other aspects of research may be advanced through whole body donation. Read more about how you can help.

  • Objective – Advances medical research
  • Age – none, but body must be inspected first
  • Cost – Cost of body transportation
  • Advanced Directive – Generally a directive is signed in advance
  • Organ Donation Allowed – May be able to designate organ/tissue donation first
Disclaimer: Living donation and whole body donation are NOT options on the Illinois Secretary of State's Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. The Illinois Secretary of State's office is NOT recommending any of the above organizations, but simply providing information for individuals interested in the different types of donation available to them.

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