ITASCA, Ill. – April is National Donate Life Month (NDLM), a time designated to honor organ and tissue donors and celebrate the lives saved through the gift of donation. Throughout the month, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network will work with its donation partners and advocates in Illinois and Northwest Indiana to focus attention on the lifesaving and healing benefits of organ and tissue donation and the importance of registering as a donor.
There are currently 108,000 people in the United States waiting for lifesaving organ transplants. While 95% of people support donation, only 58% are registered donors. One donor can save and enhance the lives of eight people through organ donation and more than 25 people through the gift of tissue.
To prioritize the safety of the community in light of ongoing risks and restrictions associated with COVID-19, Gift of Hope has developed an online approach to community and partner outreach for all National Donate Life Month activities. This year’s digital campaign highlights the good that can come from the loss of a loved one through the stories of three donors: Nikki Smith, Jaime Acevedo-Lule and Andrew Marton, and encourages partner and community participation to help increase donor registration.
“At Gift of Hope, we honor and celebrate the life and legacy of organ and tissue donors all year long,” said Dr. Harry Wilkins, President/CEO at Gift of Hope. “National Donate Life Month helps us focus attention on the critical need for registered donors and on the importance of sharing your decision to donate with your families and loved ones. This special time brings the community together to collectively help save lives.”
The donation community and its supporters are also planning to “Light it up Purple” for organ and tissue donation. As part of the month-long awareness activities, Gift of Hope is encouraging community organizations and individuals to shine purple lights at their homes and businesses to encourage donor registration and honor the people who saved lives through the gift of donation. In an impressive show of support, the city of Peoria is kicking off its NDLM celebration by lighting up Murray Baker bridge purple April 1-4.
In addition, Gift of Hope is partnering with Edward-Elmhurst, UChicago Medicine Ingalls, Franciscan Health, Methodist Health System, Community Health and Morgan County Coroner Marcy Patterson to host online donor registration drives. Each partner has set a goal for the number of people who register through a variety of digital communications and social media campaigns.
Gift of Hope encourages everyone in the community to participate in National Donate Life Month celebrations. Please join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we honor donors, donor families and caregivers, recipients, registered donors, clinical teams, and those waiting for a second chance at life. To register as an organ and tissue donor and for more information about donation, visit GiftofHope.org.
About Gift of Hope
Gift of Hope is the not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. As one of 58 OPOs that make up the nation’s donation system, we work with 180 hospitals and serve 12 million people in our donation service area. Since 1986, our work has saved the lives of more than 23,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients.