Sharron Pakis, manager of public education and relations for Tennessee Donor Services and Donate Life Tennessee, was joined by driver services director Michael Hogan, regional driver services director Rochelle Bryant, state Rep. Clark Boyd and Raichon Morand, a double-lung transplant recipient, during a ceremony Oct. 9 at the Wilson County Driver Services Center in Lebanon.
“We are recognizing our drivers services centers across the state. Gov. [Bill] Haslam proclaimed this week as Drivers Service Centers Appreciation Week, so we’re out here thanking our partners in their role in saving lives in Tennessee. Ninety-eight percent of the people who register to be an organ and tissue donor in Tennessee do so through their driver’s licenses or state IDs, so this relationship and partnership is very important to us, and these people truly are helping to save peoples lives every day by just asking a very simple question,” Pakis said.
Pakis said there are 115,000 people on the national waiting list for organ donations with more than 3,000 of those people who live in Tennessee.
Pakis also said more than 2 million people in Tennessee have registered to be organ and tissue donors, but the number represents only about 39 percent of the eligible people in the state. Pakis said Hogan set a goal of 50 percent by the end of 2019.
Morand, of Hendersonville, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1994 and came to the Driver Service Center to thank workers and encourage those waiting to renew their licenses to consider the life-saving choice.
“I had a lung transplant in August of 2015, and without that, I definitely would not be here. And my sister also had a lung transplant in 2011, so thanks to these people asking about organ donation, my parents have both of their children still,” Morand said. “I want to thank all of the people who ask that question all day long. These people ask that mundane question all day long, but it actually saves lives, so I really want to thank you.”