Soldotna, Alaska. - DONATE LIFE MONTH is a national initiative held throughout the month of April to heighten awareness of organ, eye, and tissue donation and encourage everyone to register their wishes. Everyone can Donate Life by going to the Alaska registry at www.AlaskaDonorRegistry.org.
There is a critical need for donated organs. Currently, more than 100,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list. Approximately 160 of those individuals live right here in Alaska. Unfortunately, 18 people die each day waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. It is imperative that we all take action now to give more people a second chance at life.
Last year, more than 25,000 lives were saved through donation and transplantation. Even more lives were enhanced through tissue donation. But more needs to be done. Central Peninsula Hospital supports our employee’s education regarding the importance of making a decision regarding donation and registering your wishes.
In 2007, CPH employee Keith Eckerman and his wife Michelle were faced with the sudden onset of a serious illness in their 13-year-old son Jacob. Jacob ended up needing a liver transplant and was saved by the generosity of another person who believed in organ/tissue donation.
Randy Broyles grew up in the local area and became a living kidney donor to a long-time family friend, Bob Downs. Bob has been feeling fine since the transplant and is grateful every day for the gift.
Bonnie Nichols, Marketing Director at CPH, donated her husband Brent’s body for organ/tissue transplant after his fatal heart attack on the North Slope in 1996. From that donation, a man in California received the gift of sight from his corneas, a man in Texas received a heart valve and a six month old baby received the gift of life from an artery transplant. Nichols wrote a song the following year titled, “New Beginning” to describe the experience.
CPH will fly the Donate Life flag for the month of April to heighten awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and encourage everyone to register their wishes. The ceremony to raise the flag will happen on Friday, April 3rd at 8:00 am outside the Mountain Tower. The Eckerman family, Broyles and Nichols will participate in the flag raising ceremony along with CEO, Ryan Smith and CNO, Andie Posey.
CPH reminds the public that there are three ways to register to be a donor:
1. Register online at www.AlaskaDonorRegistry.org
2. Call 562-LIFE or toll-free outside of Anchorage at 1-900-719-LIFE and request a brochure to fill out and return.
3. Say YES to donation when renewing your driver’s license. Residents who already have a red heart on their driver’s license are automatically added to the Alaska Donor Registry.
The Alaska Donor Registry is a confidential database of donation wishes to be carried out at the time of death. The database is managed by Life Alaska Donor Services and accessed only by donation professionals.