Leslie Jean-Mary, Multicultural Outreach Coordinator for the Gift of Life Donor Program, came to Spectrum to share about the need for organ and tissue transplants. Her insightful topics ranged from people wondering if there is an age limit for organ donation (health and condition matters more than age), if having an illness disqualifies potential donors (there a few conditions such as HIV, cancer, or systemic infection the would prevent organ donation), how to manage prohibitive religious beliefs (most major religions in the U.S. support it as a final act of kindness) to being in a certain race or social class making one less eligible for a donation (race, income and popularity are not considered; blood-type, waiting time, geographic proximity, and sickness severity are prioritized), Jean-Mary confidently dispelled several myths and misconceptions. She even hit home with pointing out how detractors and skeptics have fears that being a donor is a healthcare and life-saving disincentive, that surviving family will have to pay for organ donations, and that some people try to sell tissues and organs. Jean-Mary candidly noted that it is the medical professional's mission and priority to heal and save our lives, how organ selling is illegal in the U.S., and that organ and tissue donation is not even considered until every life-saving method is attempted.
Jean-Mary also introduced the audience to an organ transplant recipient who shared her story about becoming a world-class swimmer after receiving the transplant which was quite notable as she had not been a competitive swimmer prior to her diagnosis. This story was very eye-opening to the audience, helping everyone in attendance to strongly consider the lives that could be saved if everyone knew the true facts about organ and tissue transplants. To be more involved or to receive more information on donor referrals, log on to www.donors1.org or call 800-KIDNEY-1 (800.543.6391) or 800-DONORS-1 (800.366.6771).
Organ Donor National Observances and Celebrations
The need for organ, eye and tissue donors is on-going, so join Donate Life America by participating in one of our many observances throughout the year! Together, through spreading the word and educating others about donation, we can take small steps each day towards saving more lives. Below are downloadable images you can use throughout social media and links to other resources for you to utilize within your local and online community.
National Donor Day – February 14, 2019
National Donor Day is a time to focus on all types of donation – organ, eye, tissue, blood, platelets and marrow –by participating in blood/marrow drives or donor registration events. It is also a day to recognize our loved ones who have given the gift of donation, have received a donation, are currently waiting or did not receive an organ in time.
National Donate Life Month – April
National Donate Life Month (NDLM) features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.
On National Donate Life Blue & Green Day, the public is encouraged to wear blue and green, hold events and fundraisers, and partner with local restaurants, malls, media, and community organizations in an effort to spread awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation.
Donate Life ECHO – July 8-21, 2018
Donate Life ECHO, which stands for Every Community Has Opportunity, is a nationwide observance designed to reach multicultural communities. Through the ECHO concept of reiteration and repetition—with people sharing the message of donation within their community—more lives will be saved and healed.
National DMV Appreciation Week – September 24-28, 2018
The first-annual National DMV Appreciation Week took place in 2016. The DMV partnership remains the primary source of donor registrations. DMV and driver’s licensing partners are the people on the front lines of service who have helped register more than 130 million donors. DMV Appreciation Week is a time for the Donate Life Community to say thank you and show its appreciation of DMV partners across the country through national and local events and outreach.
National Donor Sabbath is a three-day observance (Friday through Sunday) that seeks to engage all major religions in the United States. It is a time for congregations to learn more about the critical shortage, celebrate life and pray for those affected by donation and transplantation.