In an effort to create greater public awareness about the life-saving importance of organ donation, Governor Chris Christie has signed a proclamation designating April as Donate Life Month in New Jersey.

Tim Larsen, Governor's Office

Last year, he signed legislation requiring the state to disseminate organ and tissue donation information to all state employees reminding them of the need for organ donors.

"Becoming an organ donor is one simple act that has the ability to transform and save many lives," said Christie. "As the need for transplants continues to increase, with one name added to the waiting list every 18 minutes, so does the need for donors.  Doing so can have the most profound impact - giving someone a second chance at a healthy life while bringing joy to family members."

There are 110,000,000 registered donors in the United States, including 2.3 million registered donors from New Jersey. Nationally, there are more than 117,800 people waiting to receive a life-saving organ transplant.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an average of 79 people will receive an organ transplant each day. Last year alone, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible; another 1 million received cornea and other life-saving tissue transplants.

In 2010, Christie, who is a registered donor signed Jaden's Law. The measure is designed to save lives by promoting bone marrow donation awareness in New Jersey. The legislation was inspired by a 3-year-old boy who lost his battle with Leukemia in 2007 after a suitable bone marrow donor could not be located.

"The need for organ transplants and the shortage of donors affects people of all ethnic backgrounds," said Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd.  "As we celebrate Minority and Multicultural Health Month, it is important to recognize the need to increase the diversity of registered donors. Those waiting for a life-saving organ are more likely to receive transplants if more people from all backgrounds donate."

Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. In-person organ donor registration is available at local Motor Vehicle Commission agencies. For more details click here.