Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Facebook's "Life Saving Tool" Organ Donor Status

Late last week Facebook made an intriguing announcement stating that the social media giant was going to be introducing a new "life saving tool." Fast forward to today and we find out exact what that tool is. The site is now offering users the option to show off their organ donor status.

Earlier today, Facebook announced that users may declare that they are registered organ donors by adding an "organ donor status" to their Timelines. While declaring your donor status on the site isn't legally binding, Facebook hopes it will inspire people to join the cause. Facebook's latest feature is an attempt to save lives by raising "broader awareness about organ donation," says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in today's press release. Zuckerberg "believes that by simply telling people that you're an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role."

According to a John Hopkins press release inspiration behind Facebook's organ donation push comes from COO Sheryl Sandberg and Dr. Andrew M. Cameron, a transplant surgeon at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Zuckerberg attended Harvard with Sandberg and together came up with the idea after meeting at a college reunion last spring. Early today Zuckerberg told the ABC new program Good Morning America his girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, who is studying to be a pediatrician, was also an inspiration. 

It seems like a bit of an odd decision to add such a feature, however the power of the social web can not be denied. If by simply adding in the feature they raise awareness that would be reason enough many users. If successful, Facebook's organ donor push has the potential to help save the lives of the more than 114,000 people in the U.S. currently waiting for new kidneys, lungs, hearts, and other organs.

If you are looking to add your organ donor status as soon as possible, here's what you have to do, according to Facebook's Help Center:
1. Click Life Event at the top of your timeline
2. Select Health & Wellness
3. Select Organ Donor
4. Select your audience and click Save

For more details about becoming and organ donor checkout OrganDonor.Gov and for those in California DonateLifeCalifornia.Org.

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