HARRISBURG (May 9) – During an emotional State Capitol news conference, Pennsylvanians who are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant, who are alive today thanks to receiving a transplant or who’s loved one has given the gift of life, helped launch a new statewide effort to dramatically increase the number of registered organ and tissue donors in Pennsylvania. Already more than 4.4 million Pennsylvanians have said ‘Yes’ to organ and tissue donation, but that only represents about 46 percent of registered drivers. The campaign goal is to increase the percentage to 48, which would require an additional 200,000 new registered donors over the next two years.
Titled “30 Seconds,” the new public-awareness campaign is the work of Donate Life Pennsylvania, a partnership of the state’s two organ procurement organizations and the state Departments of Health and Transportation. It features real Pennsylvanians from across the state who agreed to share their personal stories in the hopes that it will encourage their fellow citizens to register. 30 seconds represents the amount of time it takes to log onto DonateLifePa.org and sign up to become an organ and tissue donor.
“How do you thank somebody who’s going to save your child’s life?” asked Monica Forte, mother of seven-year-old Tony Forte of Lancaster, who is awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. Monica and Tony are among those real Pennsylvanians featured in the new campaign.
“What can you accomplish in 30 seconds?” asked Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, “You can become a hero by registering as an organ donor online and a half minute is all it takes. Do it. Visit DonateLifePa.org and possibly save someone’s life.”
“Many Pennsylvanians believe the only time they can register as a donor is when obtaining or renewing their driver’s license or state I.D. card, when in fact, you can register as a donor from the comfort of your own home at any time of the day,” said Michael Wolf, Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of Health. “The key to the new 30 Seconds campaign is an entirely new Donate Life Pennsylvania website, where visitors can hear personal stories, find out what’s fact and what’s fiction in regards to organ and tissue donation and, most importantly, can instantly connect to the PennDOT website where they can register to become a donor in just 30 seconds.”
The Donate Life PA 2013 organ donor campaign features six Pennsylvanians affected by organ and tissue donation in its creative materials:
Monica and Tony Forte – Lancaster, Pa
7-year old, swimmer-to-be
Waiting for an organ transplant
Laverne Clark – Philadelphia, Pa
Grandmother and Bowler
Lou Torres – Reading, Pa
Retired Police Detective
Antonela Kasic – Pittsburgh, Pa
15 years old, High-school Cheerleader
Waiting for an organ transplant
Lynda Zendek – New Kensington, Pa
Wife of a Donor
Ron Gooden – Gibsonia, Pa
“In Pennsylvania, more than 6,200 moms, dads, brothers, sisters, loved ones and friends are on the waiting list for organ donation,” said Howard M. Nathan, President & CEO of Gift of Life Donor Program. “Across the nation, 18 die every day simply because there aren’t enough registered donors. We can do so much better than that.”
The Donate Life PA 2013 organ donor campaign is multi-faceted, and includes:
- Traditional and digital advertising;
- A focus on social media, including an engaging Facebook community and fresh content to educate and inform Pennsylvanians about organ and tissue donation;
- An expanded partnership with PennDOT to provide additional information to customers about organ and tissue donation while they obtain their state driver’s license;
- Growth of affinity partnerships with statewide organizations who will become ambassadors for organ and tissue donation; and
- A renewed focus on multicultural communities that have the greatest need for organ donors.
“Too many Pennsylvanians are misinformed about the organ donation process in our state,” added Susan Stuart, President & CEO of the Center for Organ Recovery & Education. “This campaign emphasizes education as well as awareness and because it features real people, will resonate with Pennsylvanians across the state on a personal level.”
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 Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL)
Since 1974, Gift of Life has served as the link between donors and patients awaiting life-saving organ transplants in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Gift of Life Donor Program is the nation’s most active and well-respected organ procurement organization, coordinating more than 35,000 life-saving organ transplants and more than 500,000 tissue transplants during the last 39 years.
About 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.