PHILADELPHIA – After a month of friendly but spirited competition, Philadelphia has emerged victorious over rival Pittsburgh in the challenge to decide which city can register more Pennsylvania residents as organ and tissue donors.
The competition began Nov. 23 with dueling billboards near Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center as each city aimed to stake its claim as the city with more heart. The quest to register the most organ and tissue donors quickly spread as residents, athletes, sports personalities and even the cities’ mayors took to social media in an effort to rally their friends and neighbors.
In the end, after an all-out effort from both sides, Philadelphia was able to claim victory, as well as bragging rights over Pittsburgh.
“Philadelphia has shown that it has the most passionate and generous fans in Pennsylvania. It’s no surprise that we rose to the challenge and demonstrated our unwavering commitment to our neighbors in need of life-saving organ and tissue transplants,” said Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO of Gift of Life Donor Program.
“We’d also like to commend Pittsburgh as a worthy competitor. They gave us a run for our money and we are proud of the efforts that both cities gave. Because of this competition, we now have the potential to save more than 500 lives and make a life-saving difference for 3,150 people in our state.”
Each organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and help improve the quality of life of more than 50 people. This includes giving the gift of life with a new heart or lung, freeing others from kidney dialysis treatments, giving sight to the blind, and helping burn victims heal more quickly.
To register, show support and track the progress of each city against the other, residents in the five-county Philadelphia area visited 215HEART.com. Residents in the five-county Pittsburgh area visited
The competition drew several high-profile participants, including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
Despite the competition, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are both ready to register additional organ and tissue donors in 2016.
“I’d like to thank Pittsburghers for once again demonstrating their generosity and supporting their community. We congratulate Philadelphia on their victory and wish to thank everyone who participated in giving the gift of life. We’re a City of Champions and we’re going to keep working to register more organ donors. We’re ready to save more lives in the New Year,” said Susan Stuart, President and CEO of the Center for Organ Recovery & Education.
While the competition between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh has concluded, residents throughout Pennsylvania are busy making holiday plans and thinking of resolutions to start the New Year on the right foot.
Donate Life Pennsylvania’s new mobile-friendly registration –www.DonateLifePA.org/registration – allows residents to register as organ and tissue donors in 30 seconds – making it an easy New Year’s resolution to keep.
While 90 percent of Pennsylvanians support organ and tissue donation, only 46 percent of residents have put the donor designation on their driver’s license, learner’s permit or state identification card.
More than 8,200 people need a life-saving organ transplant in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, someone on the waiting list dies every 18 hours on average. Thousands more wait for tissue transplants that would greatly enhance their quality of life. For more than 20 years Donate Life Pennsylvania has worked to educate state residents and encourage them to become organ and tissue donors.
For more information about Donate Life Pennsylvania and to register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.DonateLifePA.org/registration.
Donate Life Pennsylvania is a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL), the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Transportation. It is funded by residents of Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvanians about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and increase the number of people who register as organ and tissue donors on their driver’s license, learner’s permit or state identification card.