ITASCA, IL--(Marketwired - Apr 2, 2013) - Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network President/CEO Kevin Cmunt today called upon residents of Illinois and northwest Indiana to observe and celebrate National Donate Life Month by registering as organ and tissue donors.
National Donate Life Month, observed throughout April, is a time set aside each year for hospitals, schools, businesses and communities throughout the Illinois and northwest Indiana to educate the public about organ and tissue donation and encourage people to register as donors. "During this special time, Gift of Hope and our Donate Life Illinois partners work with schools, businesses, hospitals and community organizations throughout Illinois and northwest Indiana to dial up their donation advocacy activities," Cmunt said. "We also take this time to recognize our donors, their families, transplant recipients and the healthcare professionals who help provide the gift of life through donation and transplantation."
More than 5 million people in Illinois and 3 million people in Indiana already have said "yes" to donation, but there is still more work to be done, Cmunt added. "More than 5,000 people in Illinois and 1,500 people in Indiana currently are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, and the gap between those waiting and the supply of available organs continues to slowly widen. To address this ongoing challenge, we encourage all Illinois and Indiana residents to take 30 seconds to register as organ and tissue donors and offer those who are waiting a second chance at life."
National Donate Life Month is one of many initiatives Gift of Hope takes part in throughout the year to address this important need. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, whose office manages the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, also plays a major role in National Donate Life Month. In conjunction with Gift of Hope, Secretary White will host press conferences and donor registration drives throughout Illinois in April to encourage people to sign up in the donor registry. To further spread this message, television and radio ads featuring Illinoisans waiting for lifesaving transplants will air in cities and towns across the state throughout the month.
Gift of Hope and its Donate Life Illinois partners will do their part to raise public awareness of organ and tissue donation and the critical need for donors by collaborating with hospitals, workplaces and community organizations throughout Illinois and northwest Indiana. Here are just a few of the National Donate Life Month activities that will take place during the month:
- April 1: Press conference to kick off National Donate Life Month, Thompson Center in Chicago.
- April 1: Legacy of Life Memorial Dedication at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.
- April 4: Donor Memorial Service at Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point, Ind.
- April 9: Memorial Medical Center Recognition Program, honoring this Springfield hospital for the major contributions it has made to making organs and tissue available to people in need.
- April 11: National Donate Life Month Press Conference at Stroger Hospital in Chicago.
- April 13: Red Shoe Run at Northern Illinois University's campus in Rockford, Ill.
- April 19: National Donate Life Month Blue and Green Day, encouraging people to honor donors, remember those who died waiting and celebrate the people who received the gift of life through transplantation this day by wearing blue and green, the colors of the national Donate Life logo.
- April 27: Biological Resource Center of Illinois Donor Memorial Service at Elm Lawn Cemetery Chapel in Elmhurst, Ill.
"We are on a mission this month," Cmunt said. "Through donor registration stations, signage and donation stories channeled through the mass media, social media, hospital community newsletters and hospital and workplace websites and intranets, we will seek to educate our community about the importance of organ and tissue donation and encourage people to register as organ and tissue donors."
One organ donor can save the lives of as many as nine people, and, when tissue donation is involved, that single donor can impact the lives of 25 or more people, Cmunt added. "Registering as an organ and tissue donor is an ordinary action that can produce an extraordinary outcome. We're asking people throughout the state to take the simple, yet critical, step to help save the lives of thousands of people whose survival depends on a person's selfless decision to be an organ and tissue donor. People who already are registered still can help by sharing the important message about organ and tissue donation with families, friends, schools and businesses in their communities. By joining the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry in Illinois and the Indiana Donor Registry in Indiana, you will make sure your desire to give the gift of hope is fulfilled and give hope and life to others through your selfless decision to donate."
People in Illinois can register to become organ and tissue donors by visiting GiftofHope.org or visiting any driver services facility in Illinois. People in northwest Indiana can register to become organ donors by visiting DonateLifeIndiana.org or any Bureau of Motor Vehicles facility in that state.
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 more than 19,000 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 GiftofHope.org