Facebook bid to boost organ donors with new willing to donate button
ABOUT two million Facebook users in Ireland can declare themselves organ donors in a new initiative on the social networking site.
A timeline goes live today allowing users to select a health and wellbeing button to highlight they are willing to donate in the same way they link to a hometown or relationship status.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg began promoting the idea last month to spur more donations and raise awareness.
Dr James Reilly, Health Minister, said he hoped the publicity encourages more people to talk about organ donation.
"Quality of life can be enhanced beyond measure and precious extra years of life added. Ironically though, the success of transplantation has led to organ shortages in Ireland and throughout Europe, and so I strongly encourage families to embrace the vital, generous, live-changing decision to donate organs," he said.
"I hope that the publicity around this launch encourages families around the country to talk about organ donation. May I add that I 'like' the Facebook tool."
Official figures from last year show a record number of organ donations, up 60pc on 2010.
The Irish Kidney Association has been calling for a donor registry to be introduced to further increase organ donation levels.
Facebook's director of policy, Simon Milner, said: "Over two million people in Ireland will be able to show on their timeline that they wish to be an organ donor. We hope that Irish Facebook users will be able to reduce the number of people who die needlessly waiting for an organ each year."