In life and in death, Doris Ivy reminded us about the importance of registering to be an organ donor. Let’s give more people on transplant waiting lists the second chance that she got.

Ivy’s second chance came in 1991 when she had a kidney transplant.

In the 27 years after the operation, Ivy, who had nine kids, got to fuss over 17 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren. She volunteered in Chicago, overseeing Bingo games for senior citizens and working as an election judge. In 1999, she appeared with her brother, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse  White, in a public service announcement about the need for donors.  

Ivy died June 29 of complications from a stroke. She was 85.


White, who says his sister’s experience made him a strong advocate for organ donation, spearheads registration through his office. You can register by visiting a Secretary of State facility, going online at or calling (800) 210-2106.  On Jan. 1, the donor registration program expanded to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to sign up.

Illinois has 6.3 million people registered as organ donors, about half the population. We can do much better.

There are 4,151 candidates awaiting transplants in the state, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Almost 3,500 need a new kidney.

For the last five years, there have been a record number of transplants in America. Last year, there were 34,770, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But the waiting list continues to grow.

Nearly 115,000 people across America are on waiting lists. Twenty people die each day while on a list.

You can help. Sign up to be an organ donor.

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