FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Facebook. It's a word everyone knows and almost everyone is a part of. The social networking site has 161 million members and counting. Tuesday, Facebook announced you can share your organ donation status as part of your profile. One local man says getting the word out can save lives.
"Maybe I can get home tomorrow," said Henry Gomez, transplant recipient.
After a week at Lee Memorial Hospital, Gomez will soon head home after his second kidney transplant in 10 years.
"It is kind of scary for people, they don't know what they're going to go through," said Gomez.
Gomez received his first transplant in 2002 due to diabetes. When that failed 13 months ago, his 20-year-old daughter donated her kidney so her father could live. He says he knows the need is great and that's why getting the word out about organ donation over Facebook means so much.
"More people will know it because they're always on Facebook. Its easier to find out what is going on," said Gomez.
On Tuesday, the social media outlet announced users could share that they're an organ donor on their timeline. Something Barbara Miller, the director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Lee Memorial Hospital, says could make a worldwide call for action.
"It's a tremendous partnership with the medical community. We're all very excited and really hope it will make a significant impact," said Miller.
Since beginning their program in 1990, Lee Memorial Hospital had done nearly 750 single kidney transplants. Gomez knows the process can be scary, going through it twice himself, but knows lives can be saved if people become donors.
"I tell them it won't hurt them. You're giving somebody else life for a longer time to live. Its just a miracle waiting to happen," said Gomez.
Just because you change your organ donor status on Facebook doesn't make it legal. You still need to register at the Department of Motor Vehicles or online. To do that, visit http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/index.html or http://www.flhsmv.gov/html/organ_donor.html