Special to The Times
National Donate Life Month is about saving and healing lives through organ, eye, tissue and living donation. In April, Donate Life America and organizations like the Alabama Organ Center focus state and national attention on how every individual has the potential to make LIFE possible by registering their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor and by considering being a living donor.
Each year, Donate Life America creates artwork for National Donate Life Month that illustrates the power of donation. The 2017 National Donate Life Month (NDLM) art uses pinwheels to tell the donation story. Pinwheels capture and pass on energy. Each Donate Life pinwheel has four sails supported by one stem. The one stem symbolizes the power of one person to save and heal lives through donation. The four sails represent organ, eye, tissue and living donation, the four ways one person can save and heal more than 75 lives through organ, eye and tissue donation, and even save a life through the gift of living donation.
Pinwheels are also symbolic of transformation, turning obstacles into opportunities. The image of the pinwheel reminds us that we all have the potential power to save and heal lives. This April, we encourage you to watch the pinwheels transform the breeze into colorful motion, think of the lives touched by donation and transplantation and register to be a donor.
National Blue & Green Day will be celebrated on Friday, April 21. In an effort to promote organ, eye, tissue and living donation supporters will wear blue and green. Several locations across the state will be blue and/or green on and around April 21, including:
Saturn V Rocket at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
RSA Tower in Montgomery
Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel
Children’s of Alabama
The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital Fountain
Iconic Birmingham Sign at Regions Field
REV Birmingham’s “Birmingham Lights” four tunnels at 14th, 18th, 20th and 22nd Streets
Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa
Vestavia Hills Southern Gateway and Sibyl Temple
There are countless stories that demonstrate the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation. Jan Jones Berry was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes when she was eight years old. Over time, diabetes took a toll on her body and she suffered many side effects from this debilitating disease. Ultimately, she was told that her kidneys were failing despite her best efforts. On May 18, 2011, Jan Jones Berry received a life-saving double transplant. She received a kidney and a pancreas. Jan was cured of an incurable disease because of the generosity of a stranger.
You can register your decision to make LIFE possible and be an organ, eye and tissue donor at www.alabamaorgancenter.org.
Currently, 54 percent of the U.S. adult population are registered organ, eye and tissue donors, 34 percent in Alabama. Yet the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of organs donated. More than 119,000* people are waiting for a transplant and a second chance at life. On average, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time. That is almost one person dying every hour. Registering your decision to become a donor is the most effective way to save lives through donation and is a sign of support to those who continue to wait.
*Data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) as of January 9, 2017.