Skyridge Medical Center in Cleveland announced it will raise the “Donate Life Flag” during the month of April. It will partner with Tennessee Donor Services to recognize April as National Donate Life Month. Skyridge will join thousands of hospitals and organizations across the nation in the Donate Life Flags Across America program. The flags are part of efforts to honor the hundreds of thousands of donors, donor family members and recipients.
Organizers also hope it will motivate people to consider the benefits of organ donation and to then join the Donate Life Tennessee Donor Registry.
The flag symbolizes the uncountable lives that are touched by organ, eye and tissue donation. “We are pleased to join together with our hospital partners to honor those who provided the unselfish gift of life to others through donation,” Bridgette Fredenberg, Community Services director for Tennessee Donor Services said. "Hopefully the nationwide display of flags will cause people to take notice and then take action by signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor."
In 2011, 220 Tennesseans gave the gift of life, resulting in 695 lives being saved.
“Flags Across America symbolizes our continued support of the families who have provided the ultimate gift of life through organ and tissue donation,” said Coleman Foss, CEO of Skyridge.
“One person can save or enhance the lives of over 50 people. Joining together with these hospitals will assist in our efforts to educate the public on organ and tissue donation and ultimately save more lives through transplantation,” Ms. Fredenberg said.
Right now in the United States there are more than 113,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, over 2,400 of those live in Tennessee. Every 18 minutes a patient on the waiting list will die, and every 10 minutes a new name will be added.
Tennesseans can register to be an organ donor by simply Checking YES when applying for or renewing their driver’s license. A small red heart is placed on the driver license. Residents can also sign up online by visiting www.DonateLifeTN.org.
As of March 30, 1,697,920 Tennesseans have signed up on the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry either online or through the Department of Safety. On average nearly 3,500 people are added each week.
While the rate falls far short of nationwide goal to register 50% of each state’s licensed drivers, Tennessee’s registry is growing quickly.
Donate Life Tennessee is a non-profit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry, administered by the state’s two organ procurement organizations (OPO), responsible for facilitating the donation process in Tennessee: Tennessee Donor Services and Mid-South Transplant Foundation. The Donate Life Registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized OPO personnel.