Twelve Women of 2012’ Inspire Americans to Be Organ & Tissue Donors

Set the Stage for Going Green…and Blue on April 20th

RICHMOND, Va. – Feb. 27, 2012  – Twelve beautiful women whose lives were transformed by organ donation are helping Donate Life America (“DLA”) inspire 20 million people to sign up to be organ and tissue donors this year.

The 12 Inspiring Women of “20 Million in 2012” hail from across the United States and were selected because of their commitment to increasing the number of lives saved through organ and tissue donation.

“A key goal of this campaign is to reach out to young women who didn’t check yes at the DMV when they got their licenses at 16; to ask them to be role models for their friends by signing up today to save lives at DonateLifeAmerica.org,” said Tenaya Wallace, national campaign director of “20 Million in 2012”.

To reach this active and socially connected audience, DLA is highlighting the need for donors throughNational Donate Life Blue and Green Day on April 20th,when celebrities, stylists, teens, fashionistas, talk show hosts, politicians, and others will be asked to wear blue and green. This is a new element of April’sNational Donate Life Month, which brings attention to organ, eye and tissue donation annually.

“The Donate Life colors of sky blue and lime green are stunning together and every spring you see fashions and accessories, even make-up, in these colors,” says Valen Keefer (29, Sacramento), who will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of her kidney transplant in August. Valen is a spokesperson for University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO), along with Natalie Cole and Deana Carter, and one of the 12 Inspiring Women of 2012. “During National Donate Life Month, I will be presenting Joan deRyk Jones, the Mayor of Truckee whose DMV office has the highest donor registration rates in California, with a Donate Life scarf and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson with a Donate Life tie so that these mayors can show off their blue and green on April 20th!”  Donate Life scarves and ties are available for order at store.donatelife.net.

Amy Tippins (36, Atlanta) celebrated the 19th anniversary of her liver transplant on February 20th. The owner of RockScar Love Designs created a blue and green t-shirt especially for the “20 Million in 2012” campaign that says ‘Real Men are Organ Donors.’ 15-20% of all sales from the clothing line will benefit transplant/organ donation based charities.

“I’ll be sending shirts to some of the biggest heart throbs in Hollywood and asking them to wear the shirts with pride and share photos with their fans to show off their Donate Life Blue and Green on April 20th” Amy announced.  “Justin Bieber’s simple tweet led to a huge increase in online registrations in Canada, especially amongst Bieber’s female fans, and Tom Brady’s vocal support for his mentor, Tom Martinez, who died waiting for a kidney transplant, has gotten people talking about organ donation.”

Because of the way information about drivers is collected by state motor vehicle departments it is impossible to obtain national data about the percentage of first time drivers who do check yes but Donate Life America has identified this group as critical to increasing donor registration.

Holly Werlein (27, Grand Rapids), a liver recipient, entrepreneur, planning board member for the Transplant Games of America and one of the 12 Women of 2012, knows firsthand the importance of bringing donor awareness to first-time drivers.

“I have done dozens of high school presentations and I see the light go on for the teens when I am telling them my story about how a liver transplant saved my life,” says Werlein. “Young people want to do something important with their lives and they want to help, so being organ donors just makes sense to them. They just need information, inspiration and to know they can go online to sign up today!”  Werlein has created a line of blue and green clothing through her Holdol Wear brand with a portion of proceeds going to Donate Life America.

You can show off your Donate Life Blue and Green by putting together a blue and green look and posting a photo on the Donate Life America Facebook page and your personal page on April 20th. The top 10 looks will win a $100 gift card from Donate Life America. The 12 Inspiring Women of 2012 are all planning unique ways to bring blue and green to life around the nation.

“I am hosting a blue and green party at Manny’s Steakhouse at the W Hotel  Minneapolis – The Forshay,” says Nina Astor (42, Minneapolis), the mother of a 16-month-old organ donor who has gone on to create a blog called www.TheSparkleTheory.com that helps women find joy every day. She and her teenage daughter Morgan are part of the 12 Inspiring Women of 2012. “UV Vodka is creating blue and green drinks for the event.  The blue drink will be a Q-tini named for my son Quentin who had incredible blue eyes.”

Jessica Melore’s new heart lets her work for her cause and help save lives as the Senior Education and Programs Manager for the NJ Sharing Network, the organ recovery agency serving northern New Jersey. Jessica (30, New York City), says “We’re integrating blue and green at every level of our outreach partnerships. Motor Vehicle employees are hosting blue and green events for customers at their agencies —a critical point of contact where 98% of people say “Yes” to donation. We’re planning campaigns in our hospitals, high schools, and colleges, and many companies and legislators are planning to get involved as well. It’s so exciting and moving to see this much enthusiasm to promote this life-saving message that will help save more lives like mine.”

Meet the other 12 Inspiring Women of “20 Million in 2012”:

Ann Lopez, living kidney donor to actor and comedian George Lopez, and their daughter Mayan join the 12 Inspiring Women of 20 Million in 2012.  Mayan turns 16 this year and will be receiving her driver’s license in the fall.  Ann and Mayan will be working together to share the importance of signing up as an organ donor with mothers and their teenage children.

Leiauna Anderson (38, Los Angeles), was a special education teacher pregnant with her first child when her liver ruptured. Two liver transplants within the following week – one non-compatible but buying precious time – saved her life. Thanks to the gifts she received from strangers and a surrogate carrier, Leiauna and her husband were able to realize their dream of becoming parents with the arrival of son Rex in 2008.

The recipient of two liver transplants since age two, Vicky Nguyen (27) is thankful to live an active Southern California lifestyle that includes giving back as a Family Pal and Cabin Counselor at The Painted Turtle, a camp for seriously ill children. She also serves  as a Donate Life Rose Parade Float decorating supervisor, a mentor to 2 liver transplant teenagers, and is a member of both the Transplant Recipients International Organization and the American Liver Foundation.

Wendy Rodgers (39, Los Angeles) is a 12-year lupus survivor and received a kidney transplant on the 12th day of May in 2009, which was Mother’s Day. Wendy is an advocate for the Lupus Foundation and featured in the Ad Council’s lupus awareness campaign ads and lives in Los Angeles.

Shari Kurzrok Schnall (New York City) was in the fight of her life after her liver failed unexpectedly from a rare genetic condition called Wilson’s Disease.  While she waited for a liver to become available, she made a promise to use her personal experience to raise awareness and educate others about organ donation so that people can make informed decisions about becoming organ donors.  Now she volunteers for the New York Organ Donor Network and raises funds for donor education through the Shari Kurzrok Second Chance for Life Foundation.

For more information about the “20 Million in 2012” campaign, a complete list of the 12 Inspiring Women of 12 and to register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit www.DonateLifeAmerica.org.