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News Release: PA Hospitals Kick off National Donate Life Month with Hospital Challenge

April 05, 2018

Every ten minutes in the United States, a new name is added to the organ transplant waiting list. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 8,000 patients are waiting to receive a life-saving transplant. To respond to the ever-increasing need for organ and tissue donors in the commonwealth, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) is proud to again partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the state’s two organ procurement organizations—the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) and the Gift of Life Donor Program—to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.

The 2018 Donate Life Hospital Challenge is being held during the month of April, coinciding with National Donate Life Month. During this year’s challenge, more than 100 hospitals and health systems across Pennsylvania are playing a vital role in increasing donation awareness within their organizations and communities. Activities may include flag raising ceremonies to honor donor families, in-service educational events for hospital staff, social media posts, billboards, and collaborations with community organizations for donor sign-up events, “walk for life” events, and educational luncheons with local athletes who were donor recipients and who shared their stories to promote organ and tissue donation. These awareness and designation activities are captured on a scorecard for participating hospitals to achieve titanium, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze level point totals.

“It’s an alarming truth that every 18 hours, a Pennsylvanian dies waiting for an organ transplant,” said Andy Carter, HAP president and CEO. “Pennsylvania’s hospital community is committed to doing all it can to help by bringing more donors into the fold, helping Pennsylvanians get critical second chances and an improved quality of life."

According to CORE, which serves the western region of Pennsylvania, a single organ donor can help change the lives of as many as eight other individuals, and a tissue donation can help as many as 75 others. Gift of Life Donor Program, which serves the eastern region of the state, reports that hearts, kidneys, pancreases, lungs, livers, and intestines, as well as tissue, corneas, and even skin, can help those on donation waiting lists.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 95 percent of Americans support organ donation; however, according to Donate Life Pennsylvania, less than half of eligible Pennsylvanians have registered as donors. “The spirit of the Donate Life Hospital Challenge is to foster a friendly competition within Pennsylvania’s hospital community, guided by the life-changing goal of educating the public about organ and tissue donation and encouraging more individuals to become donors,” Carter concluded.

Individuals can become organ donors by registering during their driver’s license or identification card renewal process, by visiting Donate Life Pennsylvania’s website, or by contacting their local hospital for more information. The sign-up process is free of charge and typically takes less than 90 seconds.

Winners of the 2018 Donate Life Hospital Challenge will be announced during September 2018. More information about HAP’s Donate Life Hospital Challenge, including lists of past winners, can be found at HAP’s website.

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