From the community

Donate Life effort reminds community of importance of organ and tissue donation in saving lives

Posted Jan. 17, 2014, at 9:29 a.m.

At a time when most folks around The County have taken down their holiday lights, a tree in front of TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital in Presque Isle is shining in the night to help raise awareness of organ donation and the national program Donate Life.

Each year, TAMC has joined other hospitals across the state to proudly fly a Donate Life flag on the flagpole during the month of April. Decorating the evergreen tree has extended TAMC’s efforts to increase awareness of Donate Life during the winter months.

As pink awareness ribbons represent breast cancer, green awareness ribbons represent organ and tissue donation. The tree is decorated with green lights to match the chosen color of awareness ribbons, and TAMC has also placed a Donate Life sign near the tree. Soon, maintenance staff at the facility will be constructing a large snowman close by as part of a community-wide effort to welcome the biathletes from around the world for the 2014 IBU Youth/Junior Biathlon World Championships.

Beyond the winter months, “The goal will be to have an awareness project presented in each beautiful Northern Maine season,” said TAMC House Supervisor Tina Tompkins, RN, who serves as the TAMC/ New England Organ Bank liaison. “We respect and honor those who have given the gift of life. We celebrate the success of the recipients. For many, organ and tissue donation has given purpose to an unfortunate situation.”

There are currently 90 Mainers on the waiting list for organ donation, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Additional data from that network states that over 20,000 transplants were conducted in the United States in the nine-month period of January to September 2013.

Donate Life America is a not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams across the United States committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation by assisting state teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries; developing and executing effective multi-media donor education programs; and motivating the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors.

TAMC also supports The New England Organ Bank, which is the oldest independent organ procurement organization (OPO) in the country and is the federally-designated OPO for all or part of the six New England states. TAMC works with the NEOB, reporting all potential donors.

“Organ and tissue donation saves lives,” said Tompkins. “One individual has the potential to save the lives of nine people, while over fifty people can be affected by a single tissue donor.”

For additional information regarding donation and to read stories of hope from recipients, visit donatelife.net.

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