Heart transplant recipient champions organ donation, recognizes student advocates.
After receiving a heart transplant in the fall of 2015, Craig Smith felt called to engage with his local community and advocate for organ, eye, and tissue donation. That is why he, along with his friend Derek Partsch, founded Johnstown-based Second Chance Fundraising.
Second Chance Fundraising operates with a key goal: raising funds and awareness for the vital importance of organ donation.
Craig sees this work as an opportunity to use his “second chance” to help others who may be in need of a life-saving organ transplant and to encourage people in his community to become registered organ, eye, and tissue donors.
In partnership with SODA (Student Organ Donation Advocates), Second Chance Fundraising gives out $1,000 collegiate scholarships to students interested in saving lives by advocating for organ donation.
This year alone, the organization has awarded six scholarships.
In addition to his work with Second Chance Fundraising and SODA, Craig is a consistent advocate and volunteer for CORE, and in 2020 he was recognized as Donate Life America Volunteer Ambassador of the Year. At this year’s Donate Life America Conference in Pittsburgh, Craig “pumped up the crowd” in his Pumper the Heart mascot outfit and was recognized on stage for his dedication to donation.