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California DMV And Donate Life California, 10-Year Partnership Saves Lives

Alfonso Garcia was 15 years old when his liver began to fail due to a hereditary disease.

His doctor told him he'd die in 48 hours if he didn't get a liver transplant.

During that time, 22-year-old George Becker died after a sinus infection spread to his brain.

Becker was on the state's official organ and tissue donor registry.

His liver went to Garcia.

"I'm very grateful to this day to George. It's very bittersweet because as much as I rejoice with my second opportunity to live, I knew that there was a family out there struggling because they had just lost a loved one," Garcia says.

Connie Mays, Becker's mother, says her son decided to become a donor right before he got his driver's license. A brief conversation about the pink dot on Connie's license led him to sign up.

"He said ‘yea, that makes sense to me. If I died I’d want them to be able to use my body to help other peopl',” Mays recalls.

In 2006, the California Department of Motor Vehicles began asking people if they wanted to join the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.

Since then, 13.2 million Californians have become donors; 7,000 have receive a life-saving transplant; and 600,000 others have received needed transplants, according to Donate Life California.

Jaime Garza, spokesman for the California DMV, says 95 percent of Californians who sign up to become organ donors, do so at the DMV.

"This partnership between DMV and Donate Life California has been one of collaboration, one of outreach, one of love for one another to see what we can do to help each other here in California," Garza says.

An estimated 22,000 Californians need a transplant. Last year, 1,100 Californians died waiting on an organ, according to Donate Life California.


Ja'Nel Johnson

Former Health Care Reporter

Ja'Nel Johnson developed a love for journalism and health and science in high school, and decided the combination would make for an interesting and fun career.  Read Full Bio 

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