April was celebrated as Donate Life Month around the Big Island in conjunction with a nationwide observance.
Donor families, former tissue and transplant patients, key government officials and other special guests attended a proclamation-signing event coordinated by Legacy of Life Hawaii on April 22 at the County Building in Hilo
Legacy of Life Hawaii spotlighted April as National Donate Life Month to honor those who have made the decision to give the gift of life and to encourage more people in Hawaii to register as organ and tissue donors. While there are now 110 million registered donors in the United States — and 591,000 registered donors in Hawaii — there is always a need for more registered donors. Less than 1 percent of deaths qualify for organ donation.
Nationally, there are an estimated 116,000 patients – and more than 400 people in Hawaii – who are in end-stage organ failure waiting for a life-saving organ. Thousands more are in need of life-restorative tissue. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the need for organs is growing almost twice as fast as the supply. About 18 people die every day waiting for a donated organ because there are not enough organs to meet the need.
Legacy of Life Hawaii is a nonprofit organization and the only organization in Hawaii federally designated to recover organs and tissue for transplant. Its mission is to save and enhance lives through recovering organs and tissue for transplant, encourage organ donation through community outreach and education, and honor and support donor families.
“Legacy of Life Hawaii works closely with island hospitals to cultivate an understanding in our diverse communities that life is worth giving,” said a spokesman for the organization.