UK HealthCare Commemorates Donate Life Month
|Donate Life Flag
Media Contact: Ann Blackford, 859-323-6363, x230
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 2, 2009) - Spring is often thought of as a time of rebirth and new beginnings and for the many individuals who have received a new beginning through an organ or tissue transplant, April holds special meaning as Donate Life Month. For the first time, UK HealthCare will fly a Donate Life flag in front of UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital during the month of April to commemorate the month and raise awareness of the important need for organ and tissue donation.
The flag, part of Flags Across America, a Donate Life America initiative, honors and celebrates the hundreds of thousands of donors and recipients whose lives have been affected by organ, eye and tissue donation. It rallies every donor hospital and transplant center, as well as all recovery agencies, to collectively fly the Donate Life flag during the month of April.
Paul O'Flynn, executive director of Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, said that hopefully the national display of flags will make people stop, take notice and take action to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.
"We are pleased to join together with our partners at donor hospitals, transplant centers, donation organizations and in the community to spread the Donate Life message and honor organ and tissue donors," Flynn said. "Taking the appropriate action to sign up to be a donor on the state donor registry could give someone a very precious gift: life."
The concept of Flags Across America is to make a very visible and unified statement about the importance of donation and thus reflect the dire need for donors. This initiative is meant to encourage the public to designate donation decisions by registering their wishes in their state donor registries.
Currently, there are over 100,000 people in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ or tissue donation. Over 700 people are waiting in Kentucky. On average, 133 people are added to the national waiting list every day - one every 11 minutes. An average of 18 patients die every day while waiting because an organ did not become available in time.
"In 2008, the University of Kentucky Transplant Center transplanted 155 organs into 139 patients," said Melinda Brown-Fox, service line director of the UK Transplant Center. "However, without the generosity of donors and donor families, these patients would not have been helped. Donate Life Month celebrates the precious gift of life, and we, at the transplant center, want to thank all donors and families for helping us care for patients."
The most important thing a person can do to help individuals in need of an organ or tissue transplant is to register as a donor. In Kentucky, you can join the registry or sign up at your local Department of Motor Vehicles office.
A donor registry table will be set up in the lobby of UK Chandler Hospital, outside the gift shop, on Wed., April 1 from 2 - 7 p.m.; Sat., April 4, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Wed., April 15, 2 - 7 p.m.; and outside the Big Blue Deli in the Kentucky Clinic on Tue., April 14, 8 - 11:30 a.m.
Find more information on how to become an organ and tissue donor.