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Facebook Spreading Organ Donation Awareness with New Timeline Feature

The new "life event" option also lets users search for donor registries

Facebook users can now add when they became an organ donor to their Facebook Timeline, a move that founder Mark Zuckerberg said could help spread awareness and get more people to become donors.

Users simply click on adding a “Life Event” to their timeline, and can find the organ donor option under “Health and Wellness.” There they can add the state, date and story on their decision to become a donor. If you are not a donor, you can search your local registry right on Facebook.

"Facebook is really about communicating and telling stories … We think that people can really help spread awareness of organ donation and that they want to participate in this to their friends. And that can be a big part of helping solve the crisis that's out there," Zuckerberg told ABC News.

In New Jersey, almost 5,000 residents are waiting a life-saving transplant, and more than 114,000 people across the United States, said NJ Sharing Network spokesman Lernard Freeman. Across the nation, everyday 18 people die waiting for a transplant. NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit organ procurement organization that covers 14 counties in central and northern New Jersey.

“We believe it’s an incredible announcement,” Freeman said. “We encourage people to visit Facebook, update their status or their personal profiles and share this information with their family and friends.” 

Freeman stressed the simplicity of registering to become a donor.

“It simply takes a couple of clicks on the computer mouse, you input a little bit of information and then you’re giving the ultimate gift of life in the event that you pass away,” he said.

Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a news release that medical experts say awareness of organ donation can go a long way.

“We never could have anticipated that what started as a small network would evolve into such a powerful tool for communication and problem solving. As this happens, we hope to build tools that help people transform the way we all solve worldwide social problems,” Zuckerberg and Sandberg said.

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