DePaul’s Blue Live Savers – Guest Post

April 9, 2010

Whitney, a DePaul graduate student and member of Student’s for Organ Donation, explains the process of establishing the group on her campus. Anybody interested in doing the same, please email and we will get you set-up. – Nick


In January, we formed DePaul’s chapter of Students for Organ Donation – fittingly called DePaul’s Blue Life Savers!

We are excited to be making an impact in the DePaul community. For those of you considering starting a group at your college, we’re happy to report that there were far fewer hoops than we anticipated in getting our chapter off of the ground. We first applied to be recognized as an official student group through DePaul’s student life office, which was a quick and painless process. We then met with Joslyn, from Gift of Hope, and she provided us with the information and materials about the organization and our role as a student group. At the end of January, we secured a booth at the DePaul student involvement fair and introduced our organization to the student body. Since then, we’ve held our first registration drive and held our kick-off meeting to recruit more group members on March 3.

The most challenging aspect we have faced so far in this process has been raising awareness among DePaul’s student body – a key component to our first organ donation drive was visibility. Luckily, we had Morgan D’Organ join us for the registration drive – not many people can ignore a six foot by six foot giant pink organ! Morgan was a big hit (students were lining up to have their picture taken with him!) and our results were great – we ran the registration for two hours on the Thursday before Valentine’s Day and more than 25 students registered. We saved more than 600 lives that night!

Gift of Hope has been a fantastic resource for us as we work toward our goals of raising awareness and increasing the number of registered donors in the Illinois organ and tissue donor registry. We would especially like to thank Joslyn for her energy and creativity in helping us navigate this process. If you are thinking about starting a chapter at your school, DO IT! You’ll be amazed how much fun you can have saving lives.

We are actively recruiting for our organization and welcome any DePaul readers to join our chapter of Students for Organ Donation! Interested students can learn about our upcoming events on our Facebook page – Blue Life Savers of DePaul, by visiting our website at, or by emailing

-Whitney, DePaul Graduate Student

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Donate Life Illinois Campus Challenge – Week 3 Update

October 28, 2009

campuschallenge09After week three of the 2009 Donate Life Illinois Campus Challenge, Kankakee Community College holds on to the top spot with Eastern Illinois University still following in second. U of I and WIU are neck and neck for the third slot.

We were also thrilled to hear that Columbia student Bill Coon received his heart and kidney transplants this past week! Bill’s sister, Carissa, has been highly involved in EIU’s Challenge efforts. Check out this past blog post for a complete update and keep an eye out for a follow-up video featuring Carissa and Bill.

The Challenge was also recently covered in this great article from the College of DuPage’s student paper, the Courier. The Journal-Courier also did a nice article about MacMurray College’s efforts.

We’ll keep you posted with another Challenge update next week.


Current Registration Total:  624


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2009 Campus Challenge Launch Day!

October 5, 2009

campuschallenge09Today marks the launch of the Donate Life Illinois 2009 Campus Challenge!

Students and student groups across the state have been preparing for our six week registration challenge which will last through November 13.

Below is a list of the 18 colleges and universities where various students have agreed to help with outreach. Stay tuned to our campus campaign page or Challenge Facebook group for weekly updates and current registration standings.

We’ve added a bit of a twist this year with some fun giveaways to those that register, become a fan of our Facebook page and do a Facebook status update tagging our page and providing a link for others to register (details here). We’ll also have some fun online outreach efforts throughout the Challenge.

Good luck to all our participants and feel free to direct anyone our way that would be interested in participating!



Bradley University

College of DuPage

Columbia College

DePaul University

Eastern Illinois University

Heartland Community College

Illinois State University

John A. Logan College

Kankakee Community College

Lewis & Clark Community College

Loyola University Chicago

MacMurray College


Northern Illinois University

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Western Illinois University

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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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Donating to Medical Research

March 16, 2009

One question that comes up now and again is how one would go about donating their body to medical research. One of Donate Life Illinois’ coalition partners is Biological Resource Center (BRCIL), whose mission focuses on this process. I recently connected with Don Greene, director of operations at BRCIL, for some further insight.

Thanks Don!


What’s Biological Resource Center’s primary mission?

brc_logo_3Our mission is the advancement of medicine through the recovery and placement of non-transplantable donated human organs and tissues. We were founded to further the cause of research and medical education in order to study specific diseases, develop new surgical techniques, assist in the creation of progressive medical devices, assist with surgical training of physicians, and develop medical student’s skills in complicated anatomical studies. Our mission is accomplished by our dedication to our donor families, respect for our donors and to the altruistic values they hold dear when they make the unselfish decision to donate their body to science. We treat them with honesty, respect and dignity.

Can someone that becomes an organ donor also have their body donated to medical research?

Yes, about 30% of our donors are shared donors with Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network.  Unlike university based donation to science programs which require 100% of the anatomy be intact, our program encourages that all our donors be on the Illinois Donor Registry or signed up with their respective state programs.

What concerns do people have when it comes to donating their body to research?

Every new donor or donor family we meet with have different questions about our processes.  Two of the most common questions are; how much will this cost us and how long will it be for the donors cremated remains to be returned to the family?

There is no cost directly related to the donation.  Biological Resource Center pays for the removal of the donors remains from place of death to our facility.  All necessary city, county and state permits required for donation and cremation are obtained and paid for by Biological Resource Center.  Once the donation is completed, the cremation of the donor is also paid for by Biological Resource Center.  The only cost the family is responsible for is the certified copies of the death certificate, which varies depending on which city or county death occurred in, and if the family is in need of any other funeral service like; posting a death notice in the local news paper, printing memorial cards, or setting up a memorial service.

The second question about when cremated remains are returned to the designated family member or friend is usually 14-21 days after the donors death.  Unlike university programs where donors are kept anywhere from 6 to 9 months we are able to proceed with our procurements and return remains in a more timely manner allowing families closure and the opportunity to proceed with memorial masses or services soon after the donors death.

Tell us a little about BRCIL’s new memorial.

The memorial garden is the first of its kind in the United States.  We will be dedicating a monument to all those who have donated an organ or tissue for transplant, research or education.  We have purchased over 24 burial plots and over the next several year begin to create a memorial garden where family members and friends can visit and lay flowers or just remember their loved ones.

We are currently taking request by our donor families that wish to have their loved ones cremated remains buried on the site.  In April 2010 we will begin to bury those Biological Resource Center donors cremated remains at no additional charge to the family.  We are inviting all our donor families, friends, pre-registered donors and anyone else interested in attending our dedication ceremony.  In the spirit of Donate Life Month the ceremony will be held at the Elm Lawn Memorial Park in Elmhurst, Illinois on Saturday, April 25th at 11am come rain or shine.  We will have representatives from Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network and the Illinois Secretary of States’ Office of Organ Donation to help us with the dedication. For more information and updates about the ceremony you can go to

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It’s 2008 Campus Challenge Time!

October 1, 2008

It’s finally here!  We know you’ve been anxiously awaiting the 2008 Campus Challenge and today is the big day!

From now through November 14th, 18 colleges and universities will be swarmin’ the dorms, hosting registration drives on campus and encouraging Illinois residents to register online through sites such as Facebook. 

Current participating schools include:  Augustana College, College of DuPage, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Central College, Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Knox College, Lewis University, Loyola University, MacMurray College, Midwestern University, Millikin University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois, Western Illinois University.

We welcome students from any additional Illinois colleges or universities to join the effort!

Building on last year’s momentum, we’ve set a big goal of collectively generating 3,000 registrations from this year’s Challenge! A lofty goal indeed, but I have full confidence in the excellent variety of student groups and individuals that have reached out and raised a hand in support of taking action to help save the lives of the nearly 4,700 Illinoisans and 100,000 people nationwide waiting for lifesaving transplants.

As an added twist this year, schools will be competing in a series of Mini-Challenges or weekly efforts to further public action in support of the issue. This week’s Mini-Challenge revolves around seeing which school can encourage the most people to join their local school’s facebook Challenge group.

Stay tuned as we’ll be keeping our Campus Campaign page updated with the latest Campus Challenge happenings as well as our 2008 Campus Challenge Facebook group. In addition, we’ve got a great series of videos and Donor Diaries to share in the upcoming weeks!

Best of luck to all our schools and onward with saving lives!


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