CHICAGO – State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, is advocating for a new bill that will save lives by reducing the age in which Illinoisans can register to become organ donors.
“In my district, requiring a new organ is a reality of life for residents of all ages. We have people with heart disease that need new hearts. We have people on dialysis that need new kidneys. And sadly we have the everyday tragedy of gunshot victims. Reducing the age that young people can become an organ donor allows their legacy to be one of saving lives and alleviating heartache.”
The Stratton-sponsored House Bill 1805 allows the Secretary of State to offer each driver’s license or identification card applicant who is 16 years of age or older, rather than 18 years of age or older, the opportunity to have his or her name included in the First Person Consent organ and tissue donor registry. Currently, more than 5,000 Illinoisans are waiting for organs with 300 people dying annually due to the shortage.
A recent story from Stratton’s district shows how an unspeakable tragedy could eventually lead to lives saved through organ donation. On Feb. 11 a stray bullet shot in Stratton’s district took the life of 11-year old Takiya Rice while she was sitting in her mother’s minivan. While House Bill 1805 would not have affected Takiya, her parents’ decision to donate Takyia’s organs led to eight recipients, including a close family member.
“Make sure you have these conversations with your family, friends, and coworkers about the importance of organ donation,” Stratton continued. “You never know when you may be in a place to benefit from one.”
Those wishing to join the registry can visit www.lifegoeson.com, call 1-800-210-2106, stop by their nearest Secretary of State office, or contact Stratton’s constituent office at 312-291-9443 or RepStratton5@gmail.com for more information.