NEW HAVEN, Conn (WTNH) – The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is considering putting out license plates with a new logo – that of Donate Life Connecticut, the non-profit that encourages and coordinates organ and tissue donation.
It turns out the person spearheading the effort has a pretty compelling story of her own.
“We joined a running group where we run 169 towns in Connecticut,” said Sandy Centurelli, sitting still for an interview in the News 8 studios. “We run a race in every town in Connecticut.”
Centurelli has run about 56 of those races so far, and lost about 30 pounds in the process. Some of the races support her favorite charity, Donate Life Connecticut. She got interested in organ and tissue donation because of her sister, a donor and recipient.
“My sister, in 2000, donated a kidney, and has received a cornea twice,” Centurelli explained. “So she can see today because somebody donated their corneas.”
As part of her volunteer work with Donate Life CT, Centurelli is working on getting a Donate Life license plate issued by the DMV. It would have the square, blue-and-green logo on the right side, with the words “You can save lives” at the bottom.
“[It’s] gone through legislators, gone through DMV to have approval, now we just need 400 people to commit to having a plate before they’ll produce them.”
You pay $65 to the DMV, and your car and go down the highway with a Donate Life plate on it. You can get them through the mail, so there’s no need to wait in lines. The plates are not a fundraiser for Donate Life, but a way to get a conversation going.
“So it’s to raise awareness about organ donation,” Centurelli explained. “Once we start talking about it and the topic comes up, then we can educate people on all the myths out there.”
Centurelli is happy to have that conversation, but she is more than just talk. Remember all that running? It was all to get in shape for an important physical.
“Once I got tested and found out I was perfectly health I said, ‘that must be what my gift is, because that’s what I can give,'” she said.
In a few weeks, she will check into Yale New Haven Hospital and donate a kidney to a complete stranger. She might never even meet the guy. All she knows is the recipient is a guy, about her age, who has been waiting for a kidney for “a while.”
“It’s up to Yale,” said Centurelli. “They have found my recipient, and it’s up to him, after the surgery, if he chooses to meet me.”
Even if he chooses not to, maybe he will at least buy a license plate to honor all those who have given the gift of life.
“It compels you, like how could you not want to help in some way?” Centurelli said. “Not everybody can be a living donor, but there’s something we can all do.”
For more information, and to download the registration form for a plate, click here. The DMV requires at least 400 people to pre-order the plates before they will start printing them. So far, around 100 people have signed up.