Justice, along with the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), and the organization Donate Life West Virginia say they hope the proclamation will encourage more people to register to become an organ donor.
In 2019, West Virginia became one of the first states to make it possible to register as an organ donor on hunting or fishing license applications. So far, more than 33,000 people in the state have registered through that option. But numbers remain low compared to the rest of the country. According to a news release from The Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE), 35 percent of West Virginians are registered organ donors. The national average is about 50 percent.
More than 500 West Virginians are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Experts say that one donor can save up to eight lives.
There are two transplant centers in the state — WVU Medicine Ruby Memorial in Morgantown and CAMC in Charleston.