Donate Life Month Wrap-Up

April has ended, and May is officially here. We can now look forward to warm weather, kids coming home from school, days at the beach and all sorts of summer fun. But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s be sure to reflect on an extremely successful National Donate Life Month.

There were hundreds of events and news stories surrounding donation throughout April, which led to a HUGE boost in donor registrations. Here, in no particular order, are four of our favorites from the past month.

1. 30 Reasons You Should Register as an Organ Donor Blog

Scott's driver's license showing that he is a registered donor.

Scott Meis, a good friend of Donate Life Illinois, documented 30 reasons why you should register as an organ and tissue donor. Each day throughout the month of April, Scott gave a new reason to register. His reasons to register ranged from sharing donor family and recipient stories to his #1 reason you should register—Duh.

Scott’s blog is an amazing compilation of donation stories and information. We encourage you to take a few moments to read 30
Reasons You Should Register as an Organ
Donor
 at Scott’s blog.

2. Charles Tillman and Paco Rodriguez

Organ and tissue donation leaped into the national headlines on Tuesday, April 19. Two nationally syndicated television shows prominently featured heartfelt organ and tissue donation stories.

Jackie Tillman, daughter and heart transplant recipient Tiana and Charles.

In the morning, The Oprah Winfrey Show featured the family of Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman and their story of life and donation. Tiana Tillman, Charles’ daughter, needed  a lifesaving heart transplant as a baby, and she was fortunate enough to receive the gift of life from a selfless donor. Oprah highlighted the Tillman family’s story and then introduced them to their donor family. You can view the video here.

Recipients of Francisco Rodriguez's organs with Francisco's wife and child, Sonia and Ginette Rodriguez.

Later that afternoon, the ESPN program E:60 told the story of Chicago boxer Francisco “Paco” Rodriguez and his family’s decision to donate life after a fatal bout in Philadelphia. The story is available on ESPN.com here.

3. Gift of Hope Hospital Campaign

Morgan D'Organ joins Wendy, Nichole and Ryan at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago

Throughout April, the Hospital Development staff at Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network worked closely with hospitals throughout Illinois and northwest Indiana to build donation awareness and register hospital staff and guests as organ and tissue donors. The Hospital Development staff held tons of events and registered hundreds of individuals as organ and tissue donors. Their efforts ranged from staffing donor registration tables to hosting educational panels featuring Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Steve Ferkau and Anna Davlantes at Lifesaving Partners.

The Hospital Development staff also hosted the annual Lifesaving Partners Awards event with Fox Chicago News anchor Anna Davlantes as emcee and double-lung recipient Steve Ferkau as featured speaker. 

4. Commercial Featuring Mikahla Thornton and Brittney Payton

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office produced a commercial featuring heart recipient Mikahla Thornton and Brittney Payton, daughter of the late Chicago Bears legend. The commercial aired throughout Illinois and encouraged viewers to register their decision to be organ and tissue donors.

Thanks to all of you who made an effort to promote organ and tissue donation throughout National Donate Life Month. No effort was too small in April, whether it was a tweet to friends encouraging them to register or an event that drew thousands. If you haven’t done so already, take 30 seconds to register your decision to be an organ and tissue donor at DonateLifeIllinois.org!

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