Each week, four Ohioans die while waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. As Valentine’s Day approaches, this week is no different. One person has the power to not only save those four people, but to save the lives of up to eight people and improve the lives of 50 more through tissue donation. In Ohio, nearly 3,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant and many more are in need of tissue. This Saturday is National Donor Day and Ohioans are encouraged now more than ever to become registered donors.
“The need for organ and tissue donation is urgent. With less than one percent of all hospital deaths meeting the criteria for organ donation, it is essential that people understand why the need is so great to have such a large number of registrants,” said Chuck Heald, team leader, Donate Life Ohio. “There is no other act that is as selfless as donating organs and tissues to those who require a life saving transplant. The time is now. It’s easy, it’s free and it’s the most precious gift you can give, especially on this National Donor Day.”
Funded by the Second Chance Trust Fund, Donate Life Ohio’s affiliated organ, tissue and eye recovery agencies have taken on the challenge to increase the number of new organ and tissue donor designations. The nationally directed goal from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has challenged Ohio to add 240,000 new designations by June 30, 2009.
Ohio is one of the leading states in the nation for donor designations thanks to a program tapping into the eagerness of college students statewide, the Do It Now!™ College Challenge. Two years running, Ohio colleges and universities are spearheading a statewide effort to register organ and tissue donors by encouraging Ohioans to Do It Now! Last year, these students added 125,000 new organ and tissue donors to the Ohio Donor Registry. However, there is still a need for more registered donors.
Ohio colleges are critical partners in helping achieve this challenging but worthwhile goal, which is aimed at the millions of Ohioans who are eligible, but not currently registered.
“In addition to raising awareness and educating the public, the students are challenged with delivering actual results. What better way for the students to gain real-world experience on how to implement a classic public relations and marketing campaign. At the same time, we get the benefit of their creative minds and youthful energy,” says Heald.
Individuals wanting to register to be an organ, tissue and eye donor can do so online at DoItNowOhio.org, by filling out a donor registration form, or by saying yes to donation when visiting their local bureau of motor vehicles (BMV).
About Second Chance Trust Fund
Through contributions made by individuals at Ohio’s BMVs while renewing their Ohio driver’s licenses, the Second Chance Trust Fund finances educational and action-oriented campaigns like the Do It Now! program. A $1 contribution supports donation education in Ohio and gives hope to thousands of Ohioans waiting for a second chance through organ, tissue and eye d