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Young man’s Eagle Scout project will change the face of Utah highways

Catcher McCardell
Posted at 9:29 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 16:07:50-05

Catcher McCardell, a 14-year-old Eagle Scout candidate, was on a family vacation last year observing a variety of license plates on the vehicles of other road trippers. One plate in particular, a DONATE LIFE specialty plate, caught his eye. “Why doesn’t Utah have a DONATE LIFE license plate?” he asked his mother, Michelle, who is employed at University of Utah Hospital.

In that moment, McCardell’s Eagle Scout project was born.

The Journey To A New License Plate

While many would be intimidated by the process of creating legislation for a new state-recognized license plate, McCardell has been working tirelessly to navigate the system, and engage advocates in his effort, including Paul Ray, state legislator, District 13.

“When I pitched the idea to Representative Ray, he was really impressed by this idea, and agreed to sponsor the bill,” said McCardell.

The bill, HB272, will go before lawmakers during the current legislative session, and paves the way for Utah to have its own DONATE LIFE license plate to promote organ, eye, and tissue donation.

Catcher McCardell Eagle Scout Donor Plate
Catcher McCardell poses for photos in front of the Utah State Capitol for his Eagle Scout project to get a Donor license plate passed into law in Salt Lake City.

While McCardell is excited that he will be on a very short list of individuals responsible for the creation of a state license plate, what really drives him is the knowledge that he is helping to generate funds and awareness for such an important cause as organ donation and the YesUtah donation registry.

“It’s really important to me. My parents highly encourage it. It can save people’s lives. If you are able to donate an organ to somebody who needs one, then it could definitely mean a lot to someone,” said McCardell.

How Can I Get One?

After the bill makes its way through the legislature and is passed, the hard work begins. Catcher needs to secure 500 applications before the license plates go into production.

Catcher's goal is to spark a discussion in Utah like the conversation he and his family had on their trip last year. He wants people to think about registering as an organ donor if they haven’t done so already.

“From the outside it doesn’t look like much of a big deal but I’m proud of what I’ve done so far,” said McCardell.

To help Catcher and participate in giving hope and healing lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation, please visit DonorConnect and fill out the application. Help Catcher reach his goal of establishing a Utah DONATE LIFE license plate and give others have a second chance at life.