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National Donor Sabbath Promotes Education and Need To Designate Donation Decisions in Faith Communities

AUGUSTA, GA – (October 27, 2015) – LifeLink® of Georgia is calling 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 13-15. During this time of holidays 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. Regardless of religious affiliation, congregations and houses of worship across the nation will recognize the life-saving benefits of organ donation.

LifeLink of Georgia is the non-profit organ and tissue recovery organization for Georgia which facilitates the recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissues for transplantation therapy. LifeLink works to ensure Georgians are provided factual information about donation and understand how to designate their donation decision on the state’s organ and tissue donor registry. “National Donor Sabbath is an annual event which encourages our religious leaders to take an active role in the organ donation decision and spread the encouraging message of Donate Life,“ said Kathleen Lilly, Sr. Vice President/Executive Director of LifeLink of Georgia.

There are nearly 123,000 Americans listed on the national organ transplant waiting list including over 5,300 Georgians. Scores more are in need of cornea and tissue transplants. Faith communities can help the many waiting for transplants by designating their decision to become an organ, eye and tissue donor at www.DonateLifeGeorgia.org.

According to Andreas Price – a church minister, donor son, and transplant recipient – his 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 consent to donation. 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’s degree in theology and return to school for a master’s 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.”

LifeLink of Georgia provides free materials including bulletin inserts, bible bookmarkers, cards and scriptural references for faith leaders interested in sharing information on this important health issue. For more information about the National Donor Sabbath, to arrange an interview with a donor family member or transplant recipient and/or to simply to learn more about organ and tissue donation contact Tracy Ide at 800-544-6667 or via email at [email protected]

You can also visit www.LifeLinkFoundation.org for more information on LifeLink Foundation and our efforts to promote saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation therapy.