HARRISBURG – Pennsylvanians are taking to Facebook and other social media sites with their ugly photos to raise awareness about the need for organ and tissue donations in the commonwealth. The #uglytruth initiative, by Donate Life Pennsylvania, asks participants to register as donors at donatelifepa.org/registration or post an unflattering photo of him- or herself. Additionally, participants are asked to tag friends and family members in their posts and challenge them to register as donors or post an ugly photo.
Participants are using the hashtag #uglytruth to identify their photo in order to call attention to the fact that every 18 hours someone in Pennsylvania dies waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. The online initiative is being embraced by a multitude of Pennsylvania personalities and community leaders – including Miss Pennsylvania USA 2016 Elena LaQuatra, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Philadelphia fitness star Jayel Lewis.
Currently, more than 8,000 people in Pennsylvania need a life-saving organ transplant.
Howard M. Nathan, President & CEO of Philadelphia-based Gift of Life Donor Program, noted that social media offers a unique opportunity to rally the community behind a call to action inspiring people to potentially save and improve thousands of lives.
“We recognize that social media is a powerful tool that allows us to connect with one another and share important life events – such as making the decision to help save a life,” said Nathan. “Many people use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to post their favorite photos, but we’re taking a different approach. All of us have taken a bad photo or received a bad haircut and we’re asking everyone to post their photos, along with the hashtag #uglytruth, to raise awareness that too many of our friends and neighbors are dying while they await life-saving organ transplants.”
Each organ donor can save up to 8 lives and each tissue donor can improve up to 50 lives.
Susan Stuart, President and CEO of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education in Pittsburgh, said polls show that 90 percent of Pennsylvanians support organ and tissue donation, but only 46 percent of residents have put the organ donor designation on their driver’s license, learner’s permit or state identification card.
“Many Pennsylvanians understand the need for organ donation but have yet to take the easy, life-saving step of registering as donors. The #uglytruth is that someone in Pennsylvania dies every 18 hours waiting for an organ transplant. But even more importantly, everyone has the power to do something about it,” Stuart said.
Pennsylvania residents can register in 30 seconds by visiting the website at donatelifepa.org/registration.
About Donate Life PA
Donate Life PA is a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL), the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) – the two organ procurement organizations serving Pennsylvania – and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Transportation. It is funded by state residents through voluntary contributions included with driver’s license renewals, vehicle registrations and state income tax filings. All contributions are used by the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund to educate residents, build awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and increase the number of people who sign up to become donors on their driver’s license, learner’s permit or state identification card. Visit us at DonateLifePA.org or at Facebook.com/DonateLifePennsylvania.
About the Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL)
Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 40,000 organ transplants and an estimated 600,000 tissue transplants. Gift of Life’s service area includes nearly 11 million people, and in 2015 the organization coordinated over 44 organ donors-per-million-population – ranking it among the highest in the world. For more information about organ and tissue donation or to register today, visit donors1.org. It only takes 30 seconds to register.
About the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE)
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated health care professionals to coordinate the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs and placement of corneas. With headquarters in Pittsburgh and an office in Charleston, West Virginia, CORE oversees a region that encompasses 155 hospitals and almost six million people throughout western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, NY.