Donate Life Illinois – A Year In Review

December 29, 2009

2009 has certainly been an exciting year for Illinois’ organ/tissue donation community. As we get ready to dive in on a new decade, here’s a quick look back at some DLI highlights from the past year. Feel free to add additional highlights with a comment below!


Steve Ferkau – Ride of His Life

The New Year kicked off with a bang as DLI advocate Steve Ferkau took to the streets of Pasadena as a float rider representative on the 2009 Donate Life Rose Parade Float.

Launch of IL Transplant Connect Site

We launched a social networking site to help facilitate connections between anyone in Illinois who shares a personal tie to organ/tissue donation. The site has grown to nearly 300 members!


Get Game. Give Life.

DLI volunteers joined Secretary of State Jesse White at a DePaul basketball game to help register attendees as donors and call attention to the issue at halftime.


CTA Ad Run and I Heart Organ Donors Video

In preparation for April as National Donate Life Month, DLI supporters came together to help put a fun face to the issue through an advertising and video campaign.


Flags Across America

DLI participated in the first national “Flags Across America” campaign where hospitals across the state flew Donate Life flags in support of donors that given the gift of life.

Organ Donation Commercial

Secretary of State Jesse White launched his annual television and radio commercial supporting the issue and encouraging registrations.


Donate Life Hollywood Film Festival

DLI was informed of a second place finish in the “online shorts” category for a video profiling Steve Ferkau.

Loyola Video Calls Attention to Issue on Campus

Students at Loyola University took it upon themselves to put together a great video showing support for the issue.


Kenny Chesney Concert

DLI volunteers battled the rain and headed out to Soldier Field to help register concert attendees as donors.

Transplant Community Gets Active Online

We compiled a resource guide to make it easy for users to find where their states are hanging out online to help support the issue on a local level.


Ed Farmer Lends Support

White Sox announcer and kidney recipient Ed Farmer helped DLI with this message of support on the issue.


Open-Hearted Video

DLI advocate and heart transplant recipient Melissa Simon helped us spread the word by participating in this profile video to share her personal story.

World Transplant Games

Several IL residents headed off to Australia to participate in the World Transplant Games!


Day of Hope and Remembrance

More than 700 donor family members joined together to honor loved ones who have given the gift of life.

Eagle Scout Project

A local Naperville teen took on a huge project to help call attention to the issue.


Waiting For a Second Chance

October found us trailing the progress of transplant patient (now recipient) Bill Coon as he waited for his lifesaving transplants.

Chicago Bears Player Lends Support

Bears’ cornerback Charles Tillman helped with a PSA to share his daughter’s transplant story.


2009 Campus Challenge

Over 1,000 students registered as donors as part of the 2009 Donate Life Illinois Campus Challenge!

2010 Float Rider Shares Insight

DLI advocate and donor family member Anne Gulotta shared insight as she prepared for the Ride of Her Life.


Rose Parade Floragraphs Decorated

Anne Gulotta and the Chana family got together for a special event to decorate floragraphs to honor their loved ones on the 2010 Rose Parade float.

5 Million Registered

DLI announces that more than 5 million Illinois residents have registered as donors!

Special thanks to all of our readers and supporters! Stay tuned for an exciting 2010 as we’ve got some big things in store!

Save travels and Happy Holidays!


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Getting Ready for the 2009 Campus Challenge!

September 21, 2009

campuschallenge09Let the countdown begin!

Each fall, Donate Life Illinois works with students and student groups from colleges and universities across Illinois as part of our six week Donate Life Illinois Campus Challenge. This year’s Challenge will take place October 5November 13.

During this time, students will be hosting registration drives on campus as well as reaching out online to encourage fellow students, faculty, staff and alumni to sign up and help save lives. In the spirit of friendly competition, the school with the most registrations and the school that registers the largest percentage of its student population will be deemed the winners.

We’re incredibly excited about the bundle of schools and groups that have already signed on to participate. We’ll be pulling together a lot in the next few weeks before the big launch day and will keep everyone updated throughout.

You can check out our official 2009 Campus Challenge Facebook group over here – It’s from this main group that we also provide links to each school’s individual Facebook group for the Challenge.

If you or someone you know would like to get involved with this year’s Challenge, drop us a line at


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NKFI Gift of Life Walk – June 28

June 25, 2009

It’s supposed to be a beautiful day on Sunday! A great excuse to get outside and enjoy the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’ Gift of Life Walk and Family Health Fair (thanks for the reminder Melissa!).


Sunday, June 28, 2009
9:00 a.m. registration; 10:30 a.m. Walk Start
Soldier Field Great Lawn – Chicago

If you go, be sure to email us ( your photos for us to share here and on our Facebook page! More details on the event:

Don’t miss this fun and FREE event for the whole family!

Participants enjoy a leisurely three-mile walk along the lake followed by refreshments, entertainment and an informative health fair.  Steve Baskerville of CBS2 Chicago and Troi Tyler will serve once again as honorary Walk Co-chairs, getting the crowd enthused and sending them on their way! And the talented DJs of Bizar Entertainment will spin tunes all morning to get you moving.

Delicious, nutritious refreshments will be provided by Trader Joe’s and an informative health fair rounds out the day. Check Point sponsors include Abbott, Fresenius Medical Care, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, and Lifeline Vascular Access. Many thanks to Baxter for their longstanding, generous support of the Gift of Life Walk. For more information, please contact Anne Black at 312.321.1500 x224 or via email to


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Ride of His Life – Donate Life Rose Parade Float – THE RIDE

January 7, 2009

I know, I know all the build up and anticipation.

Steve kindly filled us in with another exciting post yesterday that gives us all a unique perspective that of what it’s like to represent Donate Life in front of millions of eyes!

A quick snippet of Steve before the parade:

From the Float!

Be sure to check out Steve’s full recap over on Revive Hope.


Thanks for all the updates Steve!


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Ride of His Life – Donate Life Rose Parade Float – Judging Recap

January 5, 2009

Back home safe and sound, Steve posted an update yesterday that recaps the judging process for the Donate Life Float. For those that watched the Rose Parade, it was quite overwhelming to see the Donate Life Float front and center for millions of viewers.

The entire OneLegacy and Donate Life California teams are to be commended for another amazing job coordinating this year’s Float. It is because of their hard work and dedication along with the commitment, help and participation of volunteers, transplant recipients and donor family members across the nation that the Donate Life Float earned the “Queen’s Trophy” for the best use of roses.

As Steve notes:

The Donate Life Float received the “Queen’s Trophy” for the best use of roses.  We’re all very proud of that and I know that Laurie, from OneLegacy, is thrilled.  There were over 1,000 roses dedicated to donors from all over the country on her Family Circle Garden in the beautiful, golden stars leading the float including flowers there for Kari, Chloe and Chase.  Laurie is a donor sister, and though this float and our “Queen’s Trophy” means so much to so many – I think it has a little deeper meaning for her.  Congratulations, Laurie – and everyone who helped.

Below is a photo of all the Float riders as well as a video of the judging process. Be sure to check out Steve’s post for the full recap as well as this insightful, touching post from Mayka Mei whose mother was also a float rider.



*You can also check out an additional Donate Life Rose Parade Float video from the CA team here.

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Ride of His Life – Donate Life Rose Parade Float – Entry 5

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

A quick note from Steve as he gets ready for the Parade! Stay tuned for more photos/video from the day!


It’s 4:55am in Pasadena…  I’m dressed in my long johns and my Payton jersey…  I’m getting ready to catch the float rider bus…  We’re going to Von’s to grab a bite to eat and then we’ll see the float.  We’ll find out if we won any awards…  And we’ll get ready to wait.  We’re the 69th entry, so it will be a while – but that’s OK – we’ll have time to absorb…

I’ve only been this excited 3, maybe 4 times in my life…  When Laura told me she’d marry me would be one of those times…  Meeting Kari’s family would be another…  Meeting Kari’s friend, Jenn, would be a third.  Being with her friends I’ve met since, and am still meeting, would be a group fourth.  I’m walking around in my stupid long johns in Southern California and welling up every 5 minutes…

Happy New Year!!!  As Scott over at “I am. Are you” titles my posts – I’m ready for the ride of my life.  And I’ll be thinking of so many of you while I’m out there…

Love,  Steve

Ride of His Life – Donate Life Rose Parade Float – Entry 4

December 31, 2008


Steve and fellow riders on the Donate Life float

Steve and fellow riders on the Donate Life float


During the last couple days, Steve joined the other Donate Life Float riders put the final touches on the Float before the big day. In addition, Steve attended the “Stars of Life” Gala last night and spent today doing a “dress rehearsal” with the other Float riders and for the float judging.

Be sure to check out Steve’s full recap of the last two days. In addition, below are a couple videos of the finished Float and Steve climbing aboard for the judging ceremony. 

Onward to New Year’s!

– Scott

The Float!

Getting Ready for Judging!

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