The organ donation community is applauding Facebook’s announcement Tuesday that it will allow its 900 million members to share their donor status with friends and family, and to link to state databases where people in the USA can register online to officially become donors.
“This is great news. It has the potential to be one of the biggest campaigns to increase donor designation that we’ve ever seen,” said John Green, community relations director for the Gift of Life Donor Program, based in Philadelphia.
“It’s absolutely critical at this time when online communication and social media are really the way people are communicating,” said Julia Rivera, director of communications for the New York Organ Donor Network.
In an interview on Good Morning America Tuesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the organ donation initiative was inspired by disasters such as last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the social network’s role in keeping people connected.
Zuckerberg also cited his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, who is studying to become a pediatrician. “Our dinner conversations are often about Facebook and kids, and the kids that she’s meeting,” he said. “She’ll see them getting sicker, then, all of a sudden, an organ becomes available, and she comes home and her face is all lit up because someone’s life is going to be better because of this.”