Number of organ donors are up in Arizona

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Becoming an organ donor is a split second decision you make when you're at the MVD or when you renew your license online, and the number of people choosing to become one has steadily been increasing, to the benefit of countless people across the country.

The donor network of Arizona says about 95% of the sign-ups they receive to become an organ donor come from the MVD, and so far 3.4 million Arizonans have decided to become an organ donor, with 200,000 people signing up last year. That's why in August, the donor network is celebrating their life-saving partnership with the MVD.

"He was very talented" said Sheila Hedstrom-Pelger, reminiscing about her son, Tyler. "He was a drummer. He was about to start to his senior year of high school. He was just always a good kid."

Tyler, sadly, took his own life last July, at the age of 17. However, amidst the tragedy the family has felt, there have been some bright spots.

Tyler was an organ donor, and he has saved the lives of many because of that decision when he was at the MVD, getting his license with his mom.

"He said, 'why, yeah, of course. Why wouldn't you check this box,'" said Hedstrom-Pelger. "I just remember him saying that because that's just how he was. Just checked the box and that was it."

Many who signed up to be organ donors did so while at the mvd, or renewing their license online. This year, the Donor Network of Arizona hopes to surpass that.

"We understand that it's a decision that takes only a few seconds to make, but it makes a lifetime of difference for someone who may receive an organ donation that saves their life," said Nico Santos with the Donor Network of Arizona.

"Just getting those letters in the mail, you might be having a bad day anyway, our days are up and down, it's a bright spot," said Hedstrom-Pelger. "It just reminds me that Tyler is still here, still with us and still giving back."

The Donor Network says so far this year, organ donation has saved 428 lives in Arizona, a nearly 13% increase from the previous year.

Organ Donation: Donate Life Arizona

Organ Donation: Done Vida Arizona (Spanish/Español)