Idaho has consistently been one of the top states in the nation when it comes to saying yes to saving lives. These achievements are due in large part to hard work and collaboration. An event celebrating these partnerships and commemorating these successes was held Thursday (April 12) at the Idaho Transportation Department’s Boise office.
At the event Thursday, the “Yes Idaho” Donate Life Coalition honored local community partners who have been an integral part of saving lives through organ donation. ITD has been crucial in the success of donation in Idaho during the last 20 years through organ donation notifications on drivers licenses.
Many of those partners spoke or were recognized at the event, where the group also unveiled the 2018 Threads of Life Quilt. The quilt was created with individual squares made by people with a personal connection to donation. Many squares honored a loved one who made the decision to donate or to celebrate the life of a transplant recipient.
Community partners recognized included:
The Idaho Transportation Department – Thanks to ITD’s help, the registry grew by 5.2% in 2017, to 64% of the population vs. 2016 census estimate. The national average is 54%. Idaho has 800,000 drivers who chose organ donation on their Idaho licenses.
Senator Lee Heider – Senator Heider has been at advocate for donation for several years. This year, he sponsored two bills related to this topic that became law.
S1249: This legislation instructs institutions of higher education to send a link to the Yes Idaho Donor Registry to their students twice each year.
S1250: Provides for a reminder email to be sent to state employees reminding them that the state of Idaho provides 30 days paid leave for any state employee donating a kidney.
Lillie Kaster — A donor mother who honored the memory of her son by educating the public about the importance of donation. She has reached out to rodeo royalty and recruited ambassadors for donation. They carry a “Yes Idaho” flag in parades while on horseback and speak at public events, sharing the message of donation.
KTVB Channel 7 – The media partner ran a series of stories last spring and four more last fall profiling people and their families touched by organ donation.
There are almost 300 people in Idaho currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. We are very grateful to our community partners for their dedication to saving the lives of those who are waiting. For more information about organ, eye and tissue donation, please log on to the “Yes Idaho” website.