SOURCE: Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

May 30, 2013 11:14 ET

Illinois and Northwest Indiana Hospital Staff Give the Gift of Hope During National Donate Life Month

More Than 4,000 Hospital Staff Members Register as Organ and Tissue Donors in April

ITASCA, IL--(Marketwired - May 30, 2013) - Issue a challenge to the staff of St. John's Hospital in Springfield, and you better stand back. In April, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network challenged hospital staff at St. John's to "walk the walk" when it comes to supporting organ and tissue donation by registering as donors or reaffirming their donation decisions.

They more than met the challenge as 820 of hospital staff members signed up as newly registered donors or reaffirmed their previous decisions by re-registering as organ and tissue donors. "It's one thing to talk about supporting organ and tissue donation, but actions speak louder than words," said Kevin Cmunt, President/CEO of Gift of Hope, which works with hospitals to coordinate organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. "The dedicated staff at St. John's showed they don't just 'talk the talk.' They 'walk the walk,' too."

And they weren't alone. More than 4,000 staff members at 36 other hospitals throughout Illinois and northwest Indiana also showed their support for donation by taking part in Gift of Hope's Hospitals for Hope campaign. Conducted to support National Donate Life Month throughout April, the campaign united physicians, nurses and other hospital staff and gave them all a chance to publicly demonstrate their support of organ and tissue donation by registering as donors. 

"The Hospitals for Hope campaign was designed to build awareness and save lives by positioning trusted healthcare professionals as thought leaders around organ and tissue donation," said Cmunt. "In just 30 days, these individuals helped to persuade more than 4,000 of their co-workers to make a donation decision. That amounts to nearly 25 percent of all donor registrations gained through our public education and outreach efforts in all of 2012. With an average of 18 people dying every day waiting for organ transplants, this level of support from the hospital community is much-needed and deeply appreciated. We hope other people will follow their lead and choose to become donors." 

Hospitals' support went beyond individual facilities. The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA), the Naperville, Ill.-based organization that represents the state's community hospitals, showed its support by promoting Hospitals for Hope to its member hospitals through the organization's print, electronic and social media communications. The program resonates on a personal level with IHA as many of its members work closely with people who are touched by donation -- organ and tissue donors, family, friends and loved ones of donors and people who are waiting for lifesaving transplants, said Maryjane Wurth, President and CEO of IHA.

"No one understands better than our hospital professionals just how critical the need is to continue building the organ and tissue donor registries," said Wurth, who also is a member of Gift of Hope's Board of Directors. "This program positions trusted professionals as examples for their patients, family members and other people within their broad circles of influence."

The top-performing hospitals that met or surpassed their Hospitals for Hope campaign donor registration goals include: Advocate BroMenn Medical Center (Normal); Advocate Condell Medical Center (Libertyville); Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital (Chicago); Iroquois Memorial Hospital & Resident Home (Watseka); OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center (Rockford); OSF Saint Francis (Peoria); St. John's Hospital (Springfield); Blessing Health System (Quincy); and Genesis Medical Center (Silvis). St. John's led the Hospitals for Hope campaign by securing more than 800 new and reaffirmed donor registrations in April.

To help hospitals implement the campaign, Gift of Hope provided digital toolkits that included a branded campaign webpage with real-time donor registration tracking as well as e-mail templates, news releases and Hospitals for Hope blurbs to include in hospitals' internal communications vehicles. Gift of Hope also supplied on-site display materials, such as posters and table tent cards featuring donation advocates from within each partner facility. Advocates featured in the display materials included physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, chaplains and scores of other healthcare staff in wide-ranging professions.

"The Hospitals for Hope initiative provides hospital partners with an individualized approach to donation outreach," said Cmunt. "By branding each campaign uniquely, we give our hospitals and their donation advocates the power to serve as ambassadors for saving lives through organ and tissue donation."

Currently, more than 5,000 people in Illinois and 1,500 people in Indiana are waiting for lifesaving transplants, and many thousands more will need lifesaving and life-enhancing tissue transplants at some point in their lives. While great strides have been made in building the state donor registries in Illinois and Indiana, there is still more work to be done to offer the gift of life to people waiting for transplants. Programs like Hospitals for Hope can help to bring those lifesavings gifts to people in need, Cmunt said. 

"But you don't have to be a hospital staff member to save lives as a registered donor," he added. "Illinois residents can register or reaffirm their decisions to be organ and tissue donors by visiting or by visiting any driver services facility in Illinois. Northwest Indiana residents can register by visiting or any Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles location."

About Gift of Hope
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization entrusted by the nation's healthcare system with coordinating organ and tissue donation and providing donor family services and public education in Illinois and northwest Indiana. Since 1987, it has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of nearly 20,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. As one of 58 organ procurement organizations that make up the nation's organ and tissue donation system, Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area. It also is part of Donate Life Illinois, a coalition of agencies responsible for organ, tissue, eye, blood and marrow donation, as well as donor education and registration, in Illinois. For more information about Gift of Hope and organ and tissue donation, visit

Contact Information

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    Direct: 630/758-2721