Facebook’s decision to give users a way to announce their organ donor status on the social networking site was a well-kept secret in the organ donor community before billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the news onABC News’ Good Morning America. Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy, the federally designated organization that does organ recovery in the Los Angeles area, says he didn’t know about the Facebook plan until he opened his computer at 6 a.m. this morning and was bombarded with emails. Mone says he was thrilled at the news.
Already today, the number of online donor designations in Calif. has jumped to 550, according to Bryan Stewart, vice president of communications at OneLegacy. There are usually 70 online designations per day. The biggest online donor spike the state has ever seen came when Oprah did a segment about an organ donor a couple of years ago, when more than 700 people registered in a single day. “This one looks like it’s going to blow past Oprah,” says Stewart. The state gets the majority of its donors through the Department of Motor Vehicles, where 4,000-5,000 people register each day.
Stewart also sits on the 22-member board of Donate Life America, a national advocacy group that promotes organ donation. Facebook has set up a link through that organization, where people can sign up with their state registries to become official donors. Stewart says that Donate Life America’s leadership and 22-member board knew the Facebook announcement was in the works, but everyone kept quiet prior to Zuckerberg’s appearance on Good Morning America.