People gathered at Biddeford City Hall earlier this month to promote signing up for organ donation. Along with Mayor Alan Casavant, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows and New England Donor Services spokesman Matt Boger were people who have received transplants and their families. People can sign up to be an organ donor online at the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles website or at any branch office. Courtesy photo/City of Biddeford

BIDDEFORD — People gathered at Biddeford City Hall on Feb. 13 to mark  National Donor Day which falls on Feb. 14. But those wishing to be a donor can do so on any day through the Maine Secretary of State’s Donate Life initiative.

Maine residents 16 and older can add their name online, at:, or  by visiting a Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch office — the closest nearby is on Route 1 in Kennebunk. Another is on Expedition Drive in Scarborough.

Several people gathered at City Hall Feb. 13, including people who have received transplants.

Among them was the King family of Sanford whose littlest member, Emily, was able to receive a double lung transplant, and John Coniaris of Dayton who received a heart transplant several years ago.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, in Biddeford to help promote organ donation, said most Mainers who register as organ and tissue donors do so at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

“In 2022, 1,325 lives were saved right here in New England because of people who selflessly signed up to be organ donors,” said Bellows. “That’s an almost 8 percent increase from 2021. We should be so grateful that our community members stepped up in this way to save the lives of their community members in need of lifesaving transplants. And thousands more lives were enhanced through the gift of tissue donation.”


Also on hand for the Feb. 13 event was New England Donor Services spokesman Matt Boger. New England Donor Services’ staff – through the New England Organ Bank – work with more than 200 hospitals, 14 transplant centers and serves a population of more than 14 million people, coordinating organ and tissue donation in New England and Bermuda.

“Registering as an organ donor either at the BMV or online at truly has the potential of saving a life,” said Boger. He pointed out that more than 104,300 patients are now on the U.S. transplant wait list.

Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant said he expects many know someone who has had a transplant, as he does.

“I have known many in my lifetime,” he said. ” I have seen people who were weakened, struggling, terrified that their lives were waning, when, because of the magical gift of someone, they found a new life. Just as Biddeford, the city, has seen a renaissance, friends of mine have seen a personal renaissance of vigor, joy, and quality of life, because of the unselfish act of someone giving them an opportunity to thrive. … Today, I urge everyone to consider being an organ donor.”

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