TAMPA, FL – (November 3, 2016) – LifeLink is calling on members of all faiths to honor those who have given the lifesaving and healing gift of organ, eye and tissue donation by celebrating National Donor Sabbath this November 11th-13th. During this season of thanks and family celebrations, donation and transplantation organizations work closely with communities of faith to bring the message of donation to congregations across the country and encourage their members to register as donors.
All major religions support donation and believe it to be an ultimate act of love and generosity. For many people, faith plays an important role in the decision to register as a donor. With more than 120,000 men, women and children on the national transplant waiting list, 5,500 of whom are listed in Florida, registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor can provide hope to those desperately waiting for the gift of life.
According to Andreas Price – a church minister, donor son, and transplant recipient –faith and experiences have greatly informed his views on donation. Diagnosed with a rare kidney disease at age 15, Andreas spent five years on an intensive dialysis schedule before being placed on the national transplant waiting list.
On Christmas Day 1988, while Andreas awaited a donor kidney, his family unexpectedly experienced what it meant to give the gift of life. “My mother had high blood pressure and, although she was on medication, an aneurism burst in her brain,” said Andreas. “Needless to say, it was a rough night, and it changed the tenor of Christmas then and now.” Andreas’s mother, Nancy, had told her family that she wished to become a donor, making it easy for them to honor her decision. She saved and healed five lives, donating her kidneys, liver, and corneas.
Five months later, Andreas experienced what it meant to receive the gift of life. He still thinks about his donor and the gift that blessed him. “My transplant allowed me to work full-time in the corporate world and as a minister,” said Andreas. “I was also able to graduate with a second bachelor degree in theology and return to school for a master degree in divinity.”
While Andreas educates his community about the power of donation, he often encounters religious concerns. “Some people believe that you need everything God gave you to be allowed into heaven,” said Andreas. “If that were the case, we’d have to have all our hair and teeth, or we wouldn’t get into heaven. Donation is the gift of life and there is no greater gift.”
People of all ages can become organ, eye and tissue donors. To follow the example of Andreas’ mother, and help those in need of lifesaving transplantation, register as a donor at www.LifeLinkFoundation.org.
LifeLink of Florida is the federally designated, non-profit organ and tissue recovery organization serving west Florida. Currently, more than 120,000 people are awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant in the United States, and more than 5,500 of those are in Florida. For more information, or to request free materials to share the message of donation with your faith congregation, contact LifeLink of Florida at 800-262-5775 and ask for Public Affairs.