HARRISBURG, Pa., March 16 It takes just 90 seconds and two mouse clicks to potentially save eight lives and enhance the quality of life for up to 50 people.
For students at Pennsylvania's colleges and universities, that's a message that resonates as they prepare for the yearly It's On! Campus Challenge. The event, which takes place annually during April in conjunction with National Donate Life Month, highlights an inexpensive, efficient way for students to help others by encouraging them to become organ donors. A friendly competition between schools to see which can register the most new organ donors provides incentive for action. The winning school will be announced in May via Facebook, on the Campus Challenge Web site and a news release.
Now in its second year, the It's On! Campus Challenge uses Facebook and its Web site,www.donatelife-pa.org/campus-challenge, to promote a lively exchange of ideas and information to help students learn about organ donation, register to become organ donors and view their school's ranking in the competition. Last year's challenge began to tap the power of social media with 14 enrolled colleges and universities, over 200 new online registrants.
"Organ and tissue donation is something that any ordinary person can, and should, reach out to do," says Elizabethtown College Senior and local event chair Joelle Atkinson. Joelle is the recipient of two organ transplants--the first at just 18 months of age. "I'm happy for the opportunity to let my peers know about the possibilities that can come from organ and tissue donation. As a donor you have the ability to touch so many lives, not just transplant recipients, but also their family members and friends. Helping to get this message out is one way I am giving back to the community that has given me so much."
The It's On! Facebook page is a major recruitment tool, allowing schools to sign up for the competition while sharing ideas and their successes. Many of the students are compelled by stories of people whose lives have been transformed by a lifesaving transplant and their own ability to make a difference for someone else. The Facebook page has a more prominent role this year and has already doubled the number of participating schools to 26 with the potential for many more to register before the April start date.
Each participating campus has its own student-led activities with sponsor, Donate Life Pennsylvania, providing promotional materials and ideas for creating on-campus registration events.
"There are more than 100,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the United States, and each week more than 100 people on that list die because no organ is available," said Tyler Shutterly, a Sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. "We can improve those statistics by recruiting a greater pool of registered donors. It's a simple thing that we as students can do, and I'm so proud to be part of that."
To learn more about becoming an organ and tissue donor, please visit the It's On Campus Challenge website at www.donatelife-pa.org/campus-challenge, Because Life Begins with You.
The following campuses have expressed interest in planning events or have already hosted an event.
CORE is a regional not-for-profit agency that is the primary call center and intermediary for the organ recovery and allocation process that serves 155 hospitals and more than six million people in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County in New York. CORE has helped to pioneer organ procurement allocation and recovery for this region since it was founded in 1977 as the Pittsburgh Transplant Foundation. For more information visit www.core.org
About Gift of Life Donor Program
Since 1974, Gift of Life Donor Program has served as the link between donors and patients awaiting life-saving transplants in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. In that tenure, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 29,000 life-saving organ transplants and hundreds of thousand tissue transplants. For more information, visit www.donors1.org
Life Begins with You Campaign
The Life Begins with You campaign is a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL) and the Center for Organ & Recovery Education (CORE) [the two organ procurement organizations serving Pennsylvania], along with the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Transportation. The campaign is funded by state residents through voluntary contributions included with driver's license renewals, vehicle registrations and state income tax filings. All contributions are used by the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund to educate residents, while building awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and subsequently increasing the number of people who sign up to become donors on their driver's license, learner's permit or state identification card.
One Extraordinary Way to Say Love Life.
When you choose to become an organ and tissue donor, you have the power to give the most precious gift - life. Join the more than four million Pennsylvanians who have said "yes" to organ and tissue donation by adding the donor designation to your driver's license, learner's permit or state identification card. Register to be an organ and tissue donor today by visiting www.donatelife-pa.org because Life Begins with You.
Art Institute of Pittsburgh Carnegie Mellon University Duquesne University Drexel University Elizabethtown College Indiana University of Pennsylvania La Roche College La Salle University Lycoming College Northampton Community College Penn State University Main Campus Robert Morris University Shippensburg University St. Joseph's University Temple University University of Pittsburgh University of Pennsylvania University of the Sciences in Philadelphia Villanova University