Signing up to become an organ and tissue donor is a positive first step toward meeting the needs of more than 113,000 people waiting for organ transplants. But in the next 24 hours, there will be 22 people who will die without receiving lifesaving transplants in the United States. Meanwhile, a new name is being added to the waiting list every 10 minutes.
The inspiration that motivated you to sign up needs to be shared with others. Currently, only about 60 percent of the adults in Illinois are registered donors according to Donate Life America. If that number could be increased to 80 percent, hundreds of lives could be saved. One single donor can impact 25 lives. For every 10 additional future organ and tissue donors, the lives of 250 people can potentially be impacted. Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, a not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and Northwest Indiana, welcomes volunteers willing to spread the information about organ and tissue donation and inspire others to sign up.
Become an Ambassador For Hope
An abundance of volunteer opportunities are available for people willing to share stories, answer questions and give accurate information about organ and tissue donation as a Gift of Hope Ambassador Volunteer. Simply fill out an application to become a volunteer and you will receive training and materials to become an ambassador.
There are numerous groups within every community that can be contacted about the importance of becoming organ donors. Reaching out to civic leaders such as mayors and aldermen is an important role for volunteer ambassadors. Individuals in these leadership roles have contact with large groups and can share organ and tissue donation facts with their constituents.
Ambassadors can also contact hospital staff, emergency personal, medical professionals and funeral directors to ask them to share information about organ and tissue donation. Since the professionals in these fields are present in crisis situations, they can address questions that may arise about organ and tissue donation.
Reaching out to local schools is another area where ambassador volunteers can be effective. Giving presentations about organ and tissue donations to students and teachers informs a significant number of potential donors in a trusted, educational setting.
Volunteer ambassadors can share information informally in local newspapers, at community events and on social media. Sharing your personal inspiration for becoming an organ donor can often motivate others to make the same choice. Gift of Hope can provide volunteers with true stories about real people whose selfless acts gave so many others longer and healthier lives.
Another way that volunteer ambassadors can help is to provide comfort to donor families through helping with events that honor donors and their families. Supporting families during their time of loss and helping them to see the many lives that were changed due to their loved ones’ incredible gifts is an important volunteer role.
By spreading the message about the positive impact of organ and tissue donation, volunteers can also help raise funds to assist Gift of Hope in their many outreach activities. Donations can be given in memory or in honor of someone if requested.
The Best Person is You
Gift of Hope has facts, figures and stories of successes and maintains an informative website with educational materials. But what they also need are people like you to become the heart and soul behind the information. They need people like Steve Ferkau who received a lifesaving lung transplant from Kari, a young teen who tragically died. He tells his story to all who will listen but also has a team of organ donor supporters who climb the 94 floors of the Hancock Building each year in Kari’s honor. They need people like Shawn Harrington who tells how his mother helped saved three lives after her death through organ donation. They need real people like you to reach out and encourage others to make a difference by signing up to be a donor. To learn more and sign up to be a volunteer ambassador, visit www.giftofhope.org and click on volunteer. Your help is crucial for saving lives.