Racing ahead

Republic County first in state in increase of registered organ donors

Republic County has gone from last.

That news this week from the Midwest Transplant Network, who said Republic County had the highest percentage of adults who registered as organ donors last year.o first.

“Previously Republic had the lowest percentage of adults in the registry out of all the counties in Kansas,” said Brooke Connell, manager, public affairs, for MTN. “It is still low compared to other counties, but it did see the largest percentage increase (in Kansas) in 2016.”

Connell speculated that the death of Midget Nationals driver Bryan Clauson on the Belleville High Banks last year might be responsible for the spike in local citizens registering to be organ donors.

Clauson’s family honored his wish to be an organ donor when it became apparent he would not recover from the injuries he sustained during the 2016 Midget Nationals. Claussen donated his heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.

As a tissue donor, he donated bone, skin and veins which will enable reconstructive surgeries, orthopedic surgeries, spinal fusions, tendon repairs, oral surgeries, the healing of burns and the re-establishment of circulation.

At the time of Clauson’s death, he was in the midst of a “Chasing 200” campaign, to run in 200 races during the 2016 season.

To honor Clauson following his death, the Clauson family launched a campaign called “Chasing 200” with a goal of registering 200 organ donors.

They blew that goal out of the water.

Within 24 hours of launch, the Clausons registered 2,000 donors. Over the course of the next few months, they registered over 5,000 new donors.

“I think (the increased number of registered donors in Republic County) can be attributed to increased awareness for donation in general,” Connell says. “MTN does plan to be at the Belleville races in August to try to get more people to join the registry.

“It’s possible that Bryan Clauson was the reason more people decided to say yes.”

The successful development of organ and tissue transplantation is one of the most extraordinary triumphs of modern medicine, says the MTN. Unfortunately, the ability to deliver this miracle is limited by a severe shortage of donors. Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) is the community’s connection to organ and tissue procurement and public awareness exclusively for Kansas and the western half of Missouri. MTN is a federally certified not-for-profit Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) since 1973.

To join the organ and tissue donor registry today, visit