Help Others Live Today

August 9, 2012

John Wood who recently passed away waiting for a lifesaving transplant.
Photo by: Dave Bakke, The State Journal-Register

It’s not very often that I use the Gift of Hope Blog as a platform to discuss how I, personally, feel about an issue surrounding organ and tissue donation. But, this needs to be one of those rare circumstances. Earlier this week, I stumbled upon the story of John Wood and his wait for a lifesaving heart transplant. Unfortunately, John was unable to wait any longer and passed away leaving friends and family behind.

The saddest part of John’s story is that he passed away needlessly. And, worst of all, this is a story that plays out each and every day. I have little doubt that, in 30 years, scientists will be able to construct kidneys, livers, and hearts in a lab and I’ll be out of a job because it won’t be necessary for Americans to register as donors (and it will be a good day for me). In 30 years, stories like John’s will cease to exist. 

But, this is not a reason to put off registering as an organ and tissue donor. Today there are thousands of “Johns” in America who die each day (on average, 18 people). The solution to saving the “Johns of Today” is clear.  More Americans need to register as lifesaving organ and tissue donors.

More than 100 million Americans believe that the “Johns of Today” should live. They’ve made this sentiment known by registering as organ and tissue donors. This is an overwhelming amount of Americans who support donation, but this leaves hundreds of millions more who have yet to say “Yes” to helping John and the 17 others who will be unable to make it through the day.

So, today, I encourage you to quit wasting time. Do a favor to those who are desperately waiting for a transplant by learning more about organ donation. Get over whatever is holding you back from registering. Then, take 30 seconds to register as an organ and tissue donor. If you’re from Illinois, register at If you’re from somewhere else, go to

Please, register today. People, like John, are counting on you.

– Josh Muller, PR/Marketing Coordinator – Gift of Hope


2012 Morgan D’Organ Summer Tour

June 8, 2012

Hello Friends!

It’s Morgan D’Organ, your favorite liver mascot, here to let you know about my statewide tour to promote organ and tissue donation! This is my FAVORITE time of year. I get to meet thousands of Illinoisans at fairs, festivals and concerts with the goal of building awareness for donation and encouraging people to become lifesaving organ and tissue donors.

Last year was amazing (more than 3,700 people said “Yes” to donation at our events), but I have a feeling that 2012 will be even better. Here’s a list of where you can find me, Mr. Morgan D’Organ, throughout the summer:

  • Saturday, June 9thBrad Paisley Concert at Wrigley Field
  • Friday, June 22ndStrawberry Days in Long Grove
  • Sunday, June 24thSugarland Concert in Tinley Park
  • Saturday, June 30thOakfest in Oak Forest
  • Friday, June 29thNaperville Ribfest in Naperville
  • Saturday, July 7thKenny Chesney Concert at Soldier Field
  • Friday, July 13thLoopFest at Toyota Park
  • Wednesday, July 25thDuPage County Fair in Wheaton
  • Thursday, July 26thFiesta Del Sol in Chicago
  • Saturday, July 28thRascal Flatts Concert in Tinley Park
  • Saturday, August 18thJason Aldean Concert in Tinley Park
  • Friday, August 18thUrbana Sweet Corn Festival in Urbana
  • Sunday, August 26thQuad Day at University of Illinois
  • Thursday, August 30thOn the Waterfront in Rockford
  • Friday, August 31stNaperville Last Fling in Naperville
  • September 14th & 15thNASCAR Weekend at Chicago Speedway
  • Friday, September 28thLong Grove Apple Festival
  • Friday, October 5thScarecrow Festival in St. Charles

If you’re at any of these events, stop by the Gift of Hope tent to say “Hello”, take a picture and receive a FREE Gift of Hope drawstring bag!

You can follow the tour on the Gift of Hope Facebook page where we’ll post pictures and updates from across the state. Also, follow Gift of Hope on Twitter (@GiftofHope), which I occasionally take over to share news and updates from the road.

I’m ready to hit the road!

See you soon!

Your Friend, Morgan D’Organ

Donate Life Illinois shifts to Gift of Hope

June 6, 2012

Since 2006, Donate Life Illinois has provided social media users with organ and tissue donation news, expert insight and engaging digital content. In that time, we built a community of more than 18,000 Facebook fans, created a Twitter presence of nearly 1,450 followers and developed dozens of YouTube videos with over 250,000 views.

Today, the Donate Life Illinois social media channels transitioned to the Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network brand. The newly branded sites for our respective social media channels are:

– Twitter: @GiftofHope
– Blog:
– Facebook: (old address, new look!)
– YouTube: (old address, new look!)

The look and names of these social media sites might be different, but the news, content and promotions will remain the same. Gift of Hope, in partnership with Donate Life Illinois, remains committed to creating a community of registered donors who are dedicated to building organ and tissue donation awareness across the country.

Keep an eye out for new features, promotions and news regarding Gift of Hope and our social media sites! To learn more about Gift of Hope, visit!

– Josh Muller, Public Relations/Marketing Coordinator, Gift of Hope

Enter to Win Brad Paisley Tickets

September 19, 2011

Brad Paisley's latest album "This is Country Music"

Calling all Brad Paisley fans! We have FOUR pairs of tickets to see Brad Paisley live on Wednesday, September 21st at Joe’s Bar in Chicago. And we are giving them away to our amazing Donate Life Illinois fans and followers.

Winning a pair of tickets is easy! All that you need to do is post the following phrase as your Facebook status:

I am a registered organ donor. Are you? More than 110,000 Americans are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants. Register in 30 seconds at!

Once you post this status, visit the Donate Life Illinois Facebook Page and leave a message on our wall notifying us that you’re awesome and updated your status with the above phrase.

Four winners (each receiving two tickets) will be selected at 12pm CDT on Tuesday, September 20th. Entrants must post a message on the Donate Life Illinois Facebook Page stating that they updated their status. Winners will be posted on the Donate Life Illinois Facebook Page and contacted by a Donate Life Illinois representative to coordinate ticket pick up.

Not a registered organ and tissue donor? Visit to register and save lives!

Donate Life Illinois Summer Giveaways

July 1, 2011

Week One Video for Donate Life Illinois Summer Giveaways

Are you a fan of Donate Life Illinois on Facebook? If not, this summer is a great time to join.

Here at Donate Life Illinois, we believe our Facebook fans are some of the best in the world. So, we’ve decided to reward them by giving away seasonal prizes all summer long—water bottles to stay cool, CDs to rock at the beach, T-shirts to soak up the sweat and cinch bags to carry hold all your giveaways.

So, how do you win? It’s easy!

First, become a fan of Donate Life Illinois on Facebook. Second, join the Donate Life Illinois Summer Giveaways event page. And, third, post a YouTube™ video from Donate Life Illinois with a short personalized message (Example: Register your decision to be an organ/tissue donor at and let us know you’ve done it by posting on our wall.

It’s that simple! New videos and prizes will be posted weekly throughout the summer. Be sure to look for updates on the Donate Life Illinois Facebook page and the Summer Giveaways event page.

Share Your Story: Part 1

April 6, 2011

In early March, Donate Life Illinois asked its Facebook fans and Twitter followers to share their stories about why they support organ and tissue donation.  Throughout National Donate Life Month, we will feature several of the stories that were submitted via our social media outlets.  Enjoy!

Mia’s Story (submitted by Trista Royer)

My daughter, Mia, was born with gastroschisis.  Gastroschisis is a birth defect that causes the intestines to grow on the outside of the body.  We were told that Mia’s birth defect would be a quick fix with surgery.  Unfortunately, we would later learn that Mia needed a transplant.

Mia had her first surgery to correct her birth defect at just 31 weeks.  During this surgery, doctors discovered that Mia only had 12 cm of viable intestine. Doctors then diagnosed her with a condition known as severe short bowel syndrome. This left Mia unable to ingest any food (not even an ounce of formula).

Mia was taken to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago for bowel rehabilitation.  Doctors worked tirelessly to help Mia for more than a month with little to no improvement.  She was placed on total parenteral nutrition through a central line in her chest because of her inability to eat. After witnessing months of corrective surgeries, I was told that Mia’s final hope was a small intestine transplant. On February 14, 2008, when Mia was just six months old, she was placed on the national transplant waiting list for a small intestine.



Throughout the next year, Mia went through numerous central and PICC lines and many infections trying to keep her body well without food.  On February 4, 2009, almost a year after being listed, we received a call from Children’s Memorial Hospital’s organ procurement team.  They had great news—a potential donor.

We were thrilled at this news but also nervous.  We drove Mia to Children’s Memorial where Mia went through dozens of preliminary tests to ensure that the donor organ was a match for her.  She was taken to surgery around 10:30 that night, and her new intestine was transplanted around 1 a.m. on February 5.

Mia had a two-month recovery at Children’s Memorial and is doing amazingly well today.  She is two years post-transplant and living the life of a healthy three-year-old. Her doctors told us that she is the “poster child” for bowel transplants.

The Royer Family (Mia, Ben, and Trista)


As our story illustrates, organ donation is so very important.  Without this gift of life from our donor family, my daughter would be living on borrowed time or may not be living at all.  My husband and I are both registered organ/tissue donors. If anything ever happened to either of us, we wouldn’t think twice about donating to families that are in desperate need.  We understand that the pain of losing a loved one is severe, but we also have first-hand knowledge of the impact a single organ donor can have on people’s lives. We get to see smiling proof of the gift of life through donation every single day.

For more information about Mia and the Royer family, go to

To register your decision to be an organ and tissue donor in 30 seconds or less, visit

Doctors Reach New Heights by Raising Awareness

September 1, 2010

Is shouting from a mountain top the best way to broadcast your message? It may have been a long time ago but with the spread of social media, the internet, cell phones, etc., its now much easier to reach a large audience.

A team of transplant doctors from Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center are using both approaches to raise awareness about the need for organ donors. They’re climbing Mount Rainier and hosting a live web chat tonight, all with the goal of bringing awareness to the long list of individuals waiting for a transplant. Check out this page for more details. What a great idea! They also created a heart Twibbon that you can add to your photo on Facebook, Twitter, etc. to spread awareness to your friends and contacts. Follow the instructions here to participate.

Good luck to the team of climbers!


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