HonorBridge celebrates this April as the 10th annual National Donate Life Month. It’s a month of national recognition and statewide educational events. Originally a weeklong observance, it was officially recognized as a month-long event in 2003. The celebration commemorates those who have received or continue to wait for lifesaving transplants. Thanks to the advocacy of Mary Jo and Bruce Collins with the Duffy Collins
Organ Transplant Foundation, Senate Bill 11, Duffy's Law, will officially designate April as Organ Donation Awareness/Donate Life Month in North Carolina annually. Sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance), the bill passed the Senate unanimously and is expected to pass the House and be signed by Governor McCrory by early April.
“While increasing the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors that save and heal lives is part of our daily work,” says Ashley Davis, Marketing and Events Coordinator at HonorBridge, “this month serves, not only to honor the lives of those who have given and received, but it is also an opportunity to renew our commitment to saving lives.”
HonorBridge, the region’s organ procurement organization, has many dedicated volunteers who have been touched by donation. Two such volunteers are Michelle and Chris Grant of New Bern, North Carolina. Chris and Michelle’s daughter, Madisynn received a multi-organ transplant at the age of three. Sadly, at age six she passed away, But Madisynn was able to give her own gift and donated her heart to a little boy. Michelle says, “Life is a circle, and being a donor – just brings it right back around.”
Thousands of others are waiting just as Madisynn did. In fact, there is an overwhelming need for donors nationwide and in North Carolina:
- Nationally, more than 117,000 men, women and children currently await lifesaving organ transplants. Over 3,500 of them are right here in North Carolina. Hundreds of thousands more will need cornea and tissue transplants. Fortunately, one donor can save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people.
- Sadly, and average of 18 people die each day due to the lack of available organs.
If you are not already registered, you can join today by signing up at your local DMV office or online at DonateLifeNC.org. This online registry allows you to create or update your donor record at any time. Joining the North Carolina registry means that, once you turn 18, you have made a legally binding decision to become a donor at the time of your death. Just like your will, it is a decision that cannot be overturned by others. Whether you’ve been registered for years or are just signing up now, please make sure your loved ones know about your decision to save lives through organ and tissue donation.