National Donate Life Month
April is National Donate Life Month, a time when communities across the country bring attention to the critical shortage of organs and tissue for patients through various activities and events, and encourage individuals to become organ/tissue donors. Ceremonies are held to honor those who have donated and saved lives, to mourn those who have died while waiting for a transplant, to provide support for patients whose lives depend on finding a donor, and to celebrate the lives saved and improved due to donation.
National Minority Donor Awareness Week
National Minority Donor Awareness Week is celebrated the first week in August to educate people about the need for minority donors and the facts surrounding organ, blood and tissue donation. The week also promotes healthy living and disease prevention.
Of the more than 116,000 people on the transplant waiting list, more than half are minorities. African-Americans make up the largest portion of minorities on the waiting list at 35 percent, followed by Hispanics, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. Most people on the waiting list are awaiting kidney transplants. Twenty percent of the United States population are minorities and 34 percent are donors. However, minorities make up 40 percent of the patients who receive transplants. Best matches and outcomes for kidney transplants occur when the donor and patient are from the same racial/ethnic background. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Awareness, 2011
National Donor Sabbath
Every year two weekends before Thanksgiving in November, the Secretary of State's office joins clergy and health-care professionals across the country in celebrating National Donor Sabbath, an annual donor awareness observance in faith communities. This is an opportunity to dispel myths surrounding donation, and to inform congregants that most religions support organ/tissue donation as an act of charity. National Donor Sabbath Virtual Campaign
Clergy encouraged to speak to worshipers about donation the second weekend in November is celebrated as National Donor Sabbath. Clergy are encouraged to talk to their worshipers about the benefits of donation and invite donor families and recipients to share their transplant stories with fellow members. "During National Donor Sabbath, we share positive stories about transplantation with the religious community, especially letting individuals know that all major eastern and western religions embrace donation," said Secretary of State Jesse White. "That is one of the many misconceptions existing about donation, that religious views prevent donation. It's simply not true." If you have a place of worship, please consider spreading this important message in November. For more information, please contact the Secretary of State's office at 800-210-2106.
The Secretary of State's Organ/Tissue Donor program has made it a priority to educate the public about organ/tissue donation. While our state continues to be the leader in registering potential donors, there are still 5,000 people on the waiting list, and 300 people die each year because of organ shortages.
The Secretary of State's Organ/Tissue Donor Program has developed a comprehensive list of materials to assist you in your efforts to help raise awareness about organ/tissue donation. All materials are free and may be duplicated as needed. These requests are for Illinois residents only. However if you have a legitimate out-of-state request, please contact the organ/tissue donor program.
To request materials, please call 800-210-2106 or write to:
Organ/Tissue Donor Program Michael J. Howlett Bldg. 501 S. Second St., Rm. 451 Springfield, IL 62756-9000.
Request a Speaker
Illinois residents age 16 and over are invited to join the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry by registering online, calling 800-210-2106, completing and mailing a registration card, or visiting a Secretary of State facility. If you registered before January 2006, you must re-register to ensure that your wishes to be a donor are honored. The Secretary of State's office provides information about organ donation, the critical shortage of donated organs and how to become a potential organ donor. To schedule a donor program staff to speak to your group, event, class etc., please call our hotline at 800-210-2106 or contact us directly at 217-782-6258.