Michigan's newest license plate, which encourages organ donation efforts, is now on sale, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced.
The Donate Life plate carries the Donate Life logo and the message: "Be an Organ, Eye & Tissue Donor."
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the plate, which costs $35 in addition to any applicable registration fees, will go to the Thomas Daley Gift of Life Fund to promote organ, tissue and eye donation, Johnson said in a news release.
The fund is named in honor of Thomas Daley, 23, who died in an accident in 2011 and was an organ donor. Daley the son of Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Lum, and his wife Deborah.
"The need is so great in Michigan and this will be a clear reminder to Michigan residents about the need for people willing to give the gift of life," said Johnson, who has championed organ donation awareness efforts since becoming secretary of state.
Under her leadership, record numbers of people are signing up as potential donors on Michigan's Organ Donor Registry. The Registry grew by nearly 400,000 people - a 25 percent increase - last year.
The plate is formally known as the John J. Gleason Gift of Life Plate in honor of the state representative, John Gleason, who sponsored legislation creating the plate. Gleason is a kidney recipient.
"The new license plate is a great way for every compassionate Michigan citizen to show support, in a highly visible way, for organ, tissue and eye donation," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the state's organ and tissue recovery organization.
"Just as importantly, it provides funding to educate the public about how everyone can be a hero to the thousands of people here and across the nation who need a life-saving transplant," Pietroski said.
Liver recipient Marge Del Greco of Farmington Hills will purchase one of the new Donate Life plates right away.
"The new Donate Life license plate is coming out just in time so I can get one for my birthday on Aug. 29," said Del Greco. "If it hadn't been for the generosity of my donor, I wouldn't be celebrating any birthdays. I'm thrilled to get the new plate because it will bring awareness to the need for more donors and hopefully more people will sign up on the Donor Registry to save lives."
More than 3,000 people in Michigan are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. A single donor can save up to eight lives through organ transplants and can improve the lives of up to 50 more through tissue and cornea transplants.
The Donate Life plate can be purchased by mail, fax or at any Secretary of State office and will be mailed to customers.
Donate Life plates may also be personalized using Plate it Your Way. For more information, visit the Secretary of State website at www.michigan.gov/sos. Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).
Organizations which supported creation of the plate include: the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan; the Gift of Life Foundation; Gift of Life Michigan; the Gift of Life Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP); the Henry Ford Transplant Institute; the Lisa Biskup Organ, Eye Tissue Donor Program; the Michigan Donor Family Council; the Michigan Eye-Bank; Second Chance at Life; St. John Hospital and Medical Center and the University of Michigan Transplant Center.