Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April is National Donate Life Month

With more than 105,000 people nationwide waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, including nearly 2,000 people in Maryland, the need for designated organ, eye and tissue donors has reached an all time high. Sadly, on average 18 people in the United States die every day due to the lack of available organs for transplant.

To help bring awareness to this growing health care crisis, LifeBridge Health has partnered with The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (LLF) to provide employees and members of our community information about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland is a federally designated organ procurement organization dedicated to saving lives by facilitating the process of organ and tissue donation, recovery and transplantation.

During April, National Donate Life Month, The Living Legacy Foundation urges health care professionals, volunteers, educators, community groups, private organizations and the public at large to make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye and tissue donors and to raise awareness for the urgent need for life-saving organs and tissue. Throughout the month, a ‘donate life’ flag will be displayed in Greenspring Café at Sinai Hospital and Old Court Café at Northwest Hospital to honor the many individuals and families that have selflessly give the gift of life to others.

In 2009, Sinai Hospital helped facilitate 10 organ donors and nine tissue donors. Northwest Hospital facilitated one organ donor, its first in many years, and 11 tissue donors. In total, with the dedicated commitment of LifeBridge Health administration, staff and generous patients and families, 33 individuals were given a second chance at life through solid-organ transplantation and hundreds of lives were enhanced through tissue transplantation.

More than two million Maryland residents have already made the decision to designate themselves as organ, eye and tissue donors, either through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration or the Maryland Donor Registry, this statewide outreach will hopefully encourage others to make the decision to be a donor.

The Maryland Donor Registry also allows people who already designated their wishes either on their driver’s license or on the Maryland Donor Registry to specify their gifts of donation. Maryland residents are able to specify which organs and tissues they choose to donate for transplantation, medical research or both. The Donate Life Maryland web site also allows registered donors to share their wishes with family and friends with a simple e-mail.

LifeBridge Health has committed to helping to reduce the number of people waiting for a life-saving transplant by providing our employees with information about donation and transplantation and allowing each of us to make an educated decision about becoming a designated organ and tissue donor.

For more information on organ, eye and tissue donation please visit the Donate Life Maryland website at or call 866-MD-DONOR.

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