She's a smart cookie. Medical student Priscilla Chan inspired her famously private boyfriend, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, to lead a public health revolution.
Over dinnertime chat, Priscilla shared stories of how patients she interacted with that day were impacted by organ donations. Those who failed to find donors were dying. Those lucky enough to be on the receiving end of donations lived. Priscilla lit up like a firecracker when she shared stories about lives saved.
"Why don't more people donate?" she wondered, "If only people knew about the critical shortage of organs for people who are desperately in need." What's more, Priscilla also learned that opportunities for donations are often squandered because family members don't know about their loved ones' wishes to be organ donors when they pass.
That's where dinner talk turned to into action.
Zuckerberg runs the world's hottest tool to spread awareness. Why not add a feature for users to make their donation decisions known publicly, they thought? After all, the social network has more than 500 million daily users. As the boss, Zuckerberg had the clout to shortcut the life-saving measure and make it happen. This week, Facebook debuted the donation tool, allowing users to share their organ donation preference with family and friends. It also added links to official organ donation registries.
"We think that people can help spread awareness of organ donation and that they want to participate in this to their friends," Zuckerberg told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. "Facebook is really about communicating and telling stories."
Here's the biggest impact so far: Within three days, more than 100,000 Facebook users (yours truly included) have added their organ donation status and stories to their timelines. According to Donate Life America, which has partnered with Facebook on the project, thousands have also became new donors.
This example of the Facebook Factor is making a "dent in the universe," as Zuckerberg's late friend Steve Jobs liked to say. The same friend who, not coincidentally, was a recipient of a life-extending organ donation.
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