Show Your Heart for Donation

February 21, 2011

Melissa, Heart Recipient

Throughout the month of February, health organizations across the country celebrate American Heart Month.  This month, Donate Life Illinois is encouraging our friends to take two steps.  First, we are asking you to learn more about heart health and heart transplants.  Second, we want you to “Show Your Heart for Donation” by letting others know about the overwhelming need for organ and tissue donors in Illinois.

Heart Transplant Facts:

  • In 1967, Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz advanced medical science by performing the first heart transplant at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. 
  • Last year, 2,135 heart transplants were performed across the country. 
  • Heart transplants are extremely successful as seen with recent increases in the five-year survival rates for recipients (73.1 percent for males and 67.4 percent for females). 
  • In the United States, 3,186 people (131 in Illinois) are desperately waiting for a lifesaving heart transplant. 
  • Potential heart recipients suffer from a variety of heart-related diseases ranging from cardiomyopathy (the weakening of the heart) to a myriad of congenital heart problems (diseases which patients are born with). 

How can you can you “Show Your Heart for Donation”?  Take 30 seconds to register your decision to be an organ and tissue donor at DonateLifeIllinois.orgIf you are already registered, encourage others to make the decision to save lives through organ and tissue donation.  Be sure to use your social networks when telling others.  Create a Facebook post linking to the Donate Life Illinois Fan Page or tell others to learn more about donation by following DonateLifeIL on Twitter.

Want to learn more about heart health and heart transplants?  Check out the following websites:

Check out Melissa’s (pictured above) story entitled Open-Hearted at www.youtube.com/DonateLifeIllinois.

Josh

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The Complete Circle

September 28, 2010

Two recent stories about donation have received national attention. Although unconnected situations, the stories tell the complete story of donation. Taylor’s family made the decision to donate while Anna received the heart transplant she needed to save her life. Together, the stories illustrate the beautiful circle of donation.

Many of you may have already heard about these stories as Taylor’s Gift appeared on Good Morning America and Anna’s story aired during last night’s Bears v. Packer’s game but please pass on to others.  Both are incredibly moving and, hopefully, encouraged many viewers and motivated them to register.

Taylor’s Gift

My Wish: Anna Schmidt’s Journey

-Nick

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Coco’s in Chicago and a Donor

May 20, 2010

In honor of Conan O’Brien’s visit to Chicago for two sold-out shows, I’m re-posting our entry on Coco being a registered organ/tissue donor. Of course, a few things have changed in Conan’s life since we posted this but it’s still nice to see that red dot on his license. If you’re going to his show, thank him for being a donor!

-Nick

Conan is an Organ Donor!

Check this slide-show of additional celebrities who support donation:

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Celebrities Support Organ Donation

May 18, 2010

It’s always great to see a little celebrity attention and star power behind the cause. Donate Life  Hollywood works closely with film/TV producers, writers and actors to ensure positive presentations and story lines that feature organ/tissue donation. From the CBS series Three Rivers to the heartfelt All-4-One song, “When I Needed an Angel,” there were many donation champions to honor and thank this year.

Please take a moment and vote for the donation Person of the Year.

Besides the individuals up for Person of the Year, many other celebrities stopped by the Donate Life booth at the GBK Golden Globes Gifting Suite to receive information about donation and to take a picture showing their support. Did your favorite star stop by? Check out the slide-show below and you’ll see many familiar faces showing their support.

-Nick

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Donate Life Hollywood Film Fest

May 13, 2010

The top three submissions to the 2010 Donate Life Hollywood Film Fest were announced. Being held on June 12 in Beverly Hills, the Film Fest highlights positive and accurate presentations of organ/tissue donation and transplantation in TV and films. Each video shares a moving and personal story and really connect with the viewer. Very powerful stuff.

At DLI, we’re big fans of using video to share individual’s stories and connect with viewers. Our video, Steve’s Story – The Circle of Life took second place in the online shorts category at last year’s competition.

Check out this year’s top submissions:

6 Days

The Fallen Firefighter

Maime Jackson: Life on Dialysis

Big thanks to Donate Life California for coordinating this event and Astellas Transplant for sponsoring.

-Nick

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The Power of Individual Stories

April 30, 2010

Another successful National Donate Life Month comes to an end today. Throughout the month, we’ve heard amazing stories and staggering statistics to encourage people to donate life and to honor donors and the lifesaving gifts they have shared.

The Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) produced an excellent series of videos that highlights many of these personal stories. “30 Days, 30 Stories” shared a new video each day during the month of April. In the videos, people affected by donation discuss their own experiences. It’s so powerful to view and listen to these 30 stories in one place. You may view the videos on WRTC’s YouTube channel.

Although National Donate Life Month is ending, we all know encouraging others to become donors is a nonstop effort. Everyone’s connection to donation is unique and each person’s story is different. But as a community we come together to celebrate the gift that is organ/tissue donation.

-Nick

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From the Donation Expert: Kidney Chains

April 14, 2010

I’m sure you’ve heard about the extraordinary story of five Chicago-area adults, also known as the “five good Samaritans,” who participated in Loyola University Medical Center’s Pay-It-Forward Kidney Transplant Program, where they generously donated their kidneys to complete strangers. Powerful stuff – right!

This was a groundbreaking accomplishment in Illinois because no transplant chains had originated in this state before. You may have seen it reenacted on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but in real life these transplant chains multiply the impact of the donations.

Among those five remarkable people was Tim Joos, a donor family member and true advocate for donation. Tim participated in the kidney chain to honor his daughter Samantha, who was killed in a car accident and helped save the lives of others through tissue donation. Tim shares his heartfelt message in ‘Samantha’s Story’, a short video in which he urges others to become organ and tissue donors.

Kidney chains are so unique because they involve multiple living donations. Each individual involved in the chain has the power to save lives and see the impact their donation will have first hand. In addition to donating a kidney, a living donor could also give part of their liver, lung or pancreas.

The reality of the matter is more acts like the ones made by the “five good Samaritans” are needed because nationwide more than 84,000 people are awaiting a kidney transplant, including more than 3,400 Illinois residents.

To learn more about living donations, talk to a transplant center that offers a living donor program in your area. Living donation isn’t an option for everybody waiting for an organ transplant, so it is still important that you join the Illinois’ Organ/Tissue Donor Registry.

Dave Bosch

Director of Communications

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

View “Samantha’s Story”

Tim's Sam tattoo

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