Targeting public awareness about donor services, SkyRidge is joining thousands of hospitals and organizations across the U.S. that are displaying the “Donate Life” message through use of the colorful banner.
The flags also are intended to honor thousands of donors, donor family members and recipients, said Bridgette Fredenberg, community services director for Tennessee Donor Services. The flag symbolizes the uncountable lives that are touched by organ, eye and tissue donation, she cited.
“We are pleased to join together with our hospital partners to honor those who provided the unselfish gift of life to others through donation,” Fredenberg explained. “Hopefully the nationwide display of flags will cause people to take notice and then take action by signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.”
Last year, 220 Tennesseans gave the gift of life, resulting in 695 lives being saved.
Coleman Foss, SkyRidge chief executive officer, said the local medical center is committed to the national donor program.
“‘Flags Across America’ symbolizes our continued support of the families who have provided the ultimate gift of life through organ and tissue donation,” Foss said.
Fredenberg concurred, and pointed to the total impact of just one donor.
“One person can save or enhance the lives of over 50 people,” she said. “Joining together with these hospitals will assist in our efforts to educate the public on organ and tissue donation, and ultimately save more lives through transplantation.”
Currently in the United States, there are more than 113,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplants. More than 2,400 of those live in Tennessee. Every 18 minutes a patient on the waiting list will die, and every 10 minutes a new name will be added.
Tennesseans can register to be an organ donor by simply checking “Yes” when applying for or renewing their driver’s license. A small red heart is placed on the driver’s license. Residents can also sign up online by visiting www.DonateLifeTN.org .
As of March 30, 2011, some 1,697,920 Tennesseans have signed up on the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry either online or through the Department of Safety. On average, nearly 3,500 people are added each week.
While the rate falls far short of the nationwide goal to register 50 percent of each state’s licensed drivers, Tennessee’s registry is growing quickly.
About ‘Donate Life’
“Donate Life Tennessee” is a nonprofit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry administered by the state’s two organ procurement organizations (OPO), responsible for facilitating the donation process in Tennessee. They are the Tennessee Donor Services and Mid-South Transplant Foundation. The Donate Life Registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized OPO personnel.