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Philanthropy Friday: Lifeline of Ohio

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Celebrating 25 Years of Saving Lives

Established in 1985, Lifeline of Ohio is an independent nonprofit organization designated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to promote and coordinate organ and tissue donation after death. Serving 37 counties in central and southeastern Ohio, Lifeline of Ohio works diligently to inform residents about organ and tissue donation to help them make an educated decision, so they may register with the Ohio Donor Registry.

Their mission, “saving and enhancing lives by realizing every opportunity for donation among those they service”, remains the same but their accomplishments over the last 25 years are many! Since its beginnings, Lifeline of Ohio coordinated the first liver and first pancreas transplants in Ohio, helped the state achieve a donor designation rate of 53 percent (seventh-highest in the country), and most recently, received two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resource and Services Administration Medals of Honor for meeting national donation goals.

During the past 25 years, Lifeline of Ohio has facilitated donations from 1802 organ donors and 3273 tissue donors. An amazing number of lives have been saved and enhanced thanks to these heroes of donation.

The Need For Organ And Tissue Donors

Right now, there are 105,508 Americans waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, including more than 3,000 Ohioans. Sadly, 18 men, women and children die every day in the U.S. because a transplant didn’t come in time.

By saying, “yes” to donation, you are giving hope to those waiting for a second chance at life. Donors have the potential to save eight lives through organ donation and enhance up to 50 lives through tissue donation.

There are many myths and misconceptions that prevent Ohioans from registering as donors. Some people are concerned that doctors might “let them go” before their time if they are a registered donor. That is NOT the case! Doctors are most concerned with the life in front of them, they do not have access to the Ohio Donor Registry (the database that contains the only official list of registered donors), and there are many checks and balances put in place to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. A patient’s status as a donor will only be taken into account after everything has been done to save their life and death has been declared.

A few other facts:

  • There is no cost to a donor’s family for donation
  • If an open-casket funeral was possible before donation, it will still be possible after donation
  • Anyone of any age has the potential to be a donor
  • See more facts here: lifelineofohio.org/donation/donor/faqs.aspx

Becoming An Organ And Tissue Donor

Becoming a donor is easy!

  1. Sign up online at www.lifelineofohio.org
  2. Say “yes” at the BMV when you renew your license or state ID
  3. Call 800-525-5667 and we will send you a mail-in form

If you would like additional information about becoming a donor, Lifeline of Ohio offers free educational presentations for professional, civic, church and social organizations, as well as elementary through college level school programs. To schedule a program, download a Program Request form.

These programs are offered year-round as a community service and are customized to meet the objectives of the particular audience. Printed materials regarding donation, as well as donor registry information, are also available at no cost.

Shine On

During their 25th anniversary, Lifeline of Ohio launched the “Shine On” campaign to remember those who have given the “Gift of Life” and “shine on” through the lives they touched, celebrate the transplant recipients who “shine on” thanks to the generosity of a donor, and encourage central Ohioans to “shine on” by registering as organ, eye and tissue donors.

About 90 percent of the general population supports donation in theory, but only half of Ohioans take action to register. During this celebration Ohioans are encouraged to learn about donation, take action to sign up in the Ohio Donor Registry, and discuss their donation wishes with their family.

Getting Involved

Volunteers are a vital part of Lifeline of Ohio and help on a daily basis. From office activities to special events, or even playing mascot Honey Bee, (who encourages everyone to “bee” a donor), there is a way for everyone to help save lives.

To get involved as a volunteer, contact Terri Louder: [email protected]

If you would like to attend a Lifeline of Ohio event you won’t want to miss the April 11th, Candlelight Vigil of Hope, Remembrance and Celebration. Held at the Ohio Statehouse, this event gives hope to those waiting for a transplant, remembers those who gave the ‘Gift of Life’ and celebrates the second chance given to countless Americans through donation.

This year, in an effort to shed light on the crucial need for donors, the Vigil will be held on the West Plaza at the Statehouse and includes a Guinness World Record attempt for most candles lit simultaneously in a single venue.

Everyone is invited to participate! The hopes are that 1,500 central Ohioans will come together for this exciting event to help promote donation! You can learn more about the event by clicking here.

Using Social Media

Lifeline of Ohio uses social media to connect with the community they serve, as well as encourage conversations about donation.

You can follow Lifeline of Ohio on Twitter @lifelineofohio.

You can become a Lifeline of Ohio Facebook Fan at: facebook.com/LifelineofOhioColumbus

For more information on Lifeline of Ohio visit lifelineofohio.org.

For behind the scenes stories and photos visit www.inkindconnection.com.

Philanthropy Friday is a feature article by Michele Savoldi that will highlight a Columbus area non-profit organization every other week.

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