LifeGift Celebrates Hope During National Donate Life Month
Houston, Texas, March 31, 2016 – LifeGift, the federally-designated organ and tissue recovery agency, which offers hope to individuals needing transplants in 109 Texas counties in Southeast, North and West Texas, will celebrate the lives saved, remembered and healed during National Donate Life Month this April.
For more than a decade now, the month of April has been about saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. Across the country, organ procurement organizations, like LifeGift, and other Donate Life America-affiliated organizations, will fill the month with powerful stories that share the lifesaving messages of donation and transplantation.
One such powerful story comes out of the Houston suburb of Friendswood, Texas. Erin Babin, an Ambassador of Hope with LifeGift, knows all too well about the miracle of organ donation. Erin’s daughter, Elise, was only a few months old when she was placed on the waiting list for a new liver. It was nearly a year before she received a lifesaving gift from her donor angel. Thanks to the gift of life, Elise is now a happy 4-year-old.
“The gift of life Elise received restored life, not only to Elise, but to our entire family,” said Erin.
Another local family touched by donation is the Rodriguez family of South Houston. David Rodriguez, 1, never met his big sister, Fergy; she died tragically in a car accident before he was born. She became a tissue donor when she was 15 months old. Fergy’s donated tissues helped up to 80 people, which helped her parents, David and Nancy, with the grieving process. Davidicito was born four years later, giving them the chance to be a mom and dad again.
“Knowing that a part of Fergy is alive gives us comfort,” said Nancy. “She is our little heroine. Her purpose in her short life was to give love, life and hope.”
The family of Elif Yuskel of Sugar Land represents the 120,000-plus men, women and children across the country waiting for lifesaving gifts. Elif , 7, is hoping for a heart that will allow her to run with friends without getting tired so easily. Her parents, Fatma and Sancak, work hard to keep her happy and carefree.
“No one should ever be on the waiting list,” said Fatma.
She believes that many people don’t register to become donors for religious reasons, though most major religions support organ and tissue donation. The Yuskels are Muslim and open-minded; Fatma hopes their story will inspire people of all faiths to register and help save lives like Elif’s.
“National Donate Life Month is a celebration of LIFE and the ripple effect that occurs when someone says ‘YES’,” said Kevin Myer, president and CEO of LifeGift. “Saying ‘YES’ to donation is a powerful decision – one that impacts so many lives in countless ways.”
The Donate Life Texas Registry, the official registry of the state of Texas, is a database of all those who authorize themselves to be lifesaving donors upon their deaths. One can register by visiting the website, www.donatelifetexas.org, or when obtaining/renewing a driver license or ID at any Texas Department of Public Safety office.
Currently , 52 percent of the U.S. adult population is registered as donors, 41 percent from the state of Texas. Every day 81 people across the United States receive the gift of life. Yet the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of organs donated. More than 121,000* people are waiting for a transplant and a second chance at life. In Texas, more than 70 percent of the waiting list are from multicultural backgrounds. On average, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time. *Based on OPTN data as of February 2016
For more information about LifeGift, visit www.lifegift.org.
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Established in 1987, LifeGift is a nonprofit 501 (c)3 organization that offers hope to individuals needing transplants in Southeast, North and West Texas. A founding member of Donate Life Texas, the organization that runs the organ, eye and tissue donor registry, LifeGift services 10 transplant centers and 200 donor hospitals. It is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). For more information, visit www.lifegift.org, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.