Donate Life America and UPMC Partner to Increase Living Donor Transplant Awareness




Contact: Lawerence Synett

Phone: 412-647-9816

E-mail: SynettL [at] upmc [dot] edu


Contact: Hilary Czarda

Phone: 804-377-3580

E-mail: HCzarda [at] donatelife [dot] net



Donate Life America and UPMC Partner to Increase Living Donor Transplant Awareness

Online Hub Aims to Connect Transplant Community

PITTSBURGH, DATE Donate Life America and UPMC are collaborating on a first-of-its-kind online community aimed at increasing living donor transplant awareness. The initiative recently launched with the activation of the Donate Life America/UPMC Living Donor Transplant Facebook page, the first step in creating a social space for patients, donors and prospective donors to connect, get educated and share their stories.

“Donate Life America is proud to be a part of this effort to increase living donor transplant awareness,” said David Fleming, president and chief executive officer of Donate Life America, a nonprofit alliance of national organizations and state teams committed to increasing donation. “We applaud UPMC’s commitment to innovation and desire to educate the public about living donation and its lifesaving benefits.”

More than 120,000 men, women and children are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant. More than 28,000 people receive a transplant in the U.S. each year, including more than 6,000 from living organ donors. Although 90 percent of Americans say they support organ donation, only 52 percent are registered donors, and even fewer understand the benefits of kidney and liver transplants from living donors.

“The transplant field has come a long way over the last 20 years, but the organ shortage has gotten worse,” said Abhinav Humar, M.D., UPMC’s chief of transplantation. “One of the main reasons living donor transplants haven’t taken off is because of a lack of information about the process, what it involves and who can be candidates. This initiative is a way to disseminate living donor transplant information to more people, which could help alleviate the organ shortage and save countless lives.”

More than 1 billion people are active on Facebook worldwide, and recent studies have shown that 28 percent of health-related conversations on Facebook support health-related causes, followed by 27 percent of people commenting about health experiences or updates.

“With more than 115,000 Americans waiting for a kidney or liver transplant, it is vital people know about living donation as an option,” Mr. Fleming added. “Living donation offers a key opportunity to save more lives, and Donate Life America is excited to be a part of this initiative to build a national living donation community through the power of social media.”

Donya McCoy knows all too well the power of social media when it comes to finding a donor.

At 3 years old, her daughter Kennedy was diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder, and doctors believed a liver transplant could correct some of the factors contributing to the disease. Kennedy didn’t have a very good chance at securing a deceased donor liver, and living-donor liver transplant was her best option. Due to her rare condition, the donor had to be unrelated.

After researching how the living donor transplant process worked on several websites, Ms. McCoy posted what she called the “request of a lifetime” on her Facebook page in July 2014 looking for anyone with O positive blood willing to donate 25 percent of his or her liver to save her daughter’s life.

Firefighter Mike Thompson, a former classmate, messaged her back and wanted to help. A successful living donor transplant later took place at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Today, Mr. Thompson and Kennedy are doing well.

“I wasn’t just going to stand in the fruit section of the grocery store and ask for someone to save my daughter’s life, so I went online to find everything I could about the process,” Ms. McCoy said. “Facebook is my largest network of people unrelated to me and seemed like the natural place to find a donor. As humans we need to share our experiences in the hope of helping others, and this online community will help do that.”

In addition to featuring educational content about living donation, including videos from experts, articles and patient stories, the intent of the Facebook page is to allow patients and families a place to share their stories and connect with others whose lives have been affected by transplantation.

The goal of the partnership is to reduce the pediatric and adult liver and kidney waiting lists, eradicate pediatric waiting list deaths, and improve access to transplants nationally.

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About UPMC

A world-renowned health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. It provides more than $888 million a year in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 60,000 employees, more than 20 hospitals, more than 500 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a more than 2.9 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical and behavioral health services insurer in western Pennsylvania. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC ranks No. 13 in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals. UPMC Enterprises functions as the innovation and commercialization arm of UPMC while UPMC International provides hands-on health care and management services with partners in 12 countries on four continents. For more information, go to

About Donate Life America

Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and Donate Life State Teams across the United States committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate LifeSM; develops and executes effective multi-media donor education programs; motivates the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors; and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries.

Donate Life America and Walgreens Partnership Expanding!

happy and healthyDonate Life America is pleased to announce that our partnership with Walgreens is expanding! In collaboration with Donate Life America and Human Services Division of Transplantation, Walgreens has been promoting the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation for several years through a national campaign encouraging donor registration. Leveraging social media channels including Facebook and Twitter, Walgreens has helped to deliver messages promoting National Donate Life Month and donation in general.

 Beginning in April 2016, Walgreens will be sharing information about Donate Life and registering as organ, eye and tissue donors to their tens of millions of pharmacy customers through targeted communications accompanying Walgreens prescriptions nationwide.

Walgreens HRP - April 2016

Artwork for April 2016 prescription bags


Artwork for prescription bags May 2016 and beyond

The call to action included in this initiative is to register through the national Donate Life Registry by using a specific campaign page that will allow us to track the success of this partnership.

Additionally, Walgreens is continuing their employee engagement efforts to encourage their workforce to register as donors.  See the attached article that was included in their March corporate newsletter.

Walgreens is very committed to helping the Donate Life Community save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.  At this time, the partnership is focused on a national level. As the partnership continues to evolve, we will keep you abreast of new opportunities that may include local outreach with Donate Life State Teams.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Headley.  We hope you will find this announcement to be a great way to kick off National Donate Life Month!

We thank Walgreens for their continued efforts that we know will inspire many to become donors and ultimately save countless lives!


Organ Donation Easier Than Ever

By LURVIN FERNANDEZ, Daily Sun Staff Writer | Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 8:00 am

It’s never too late to save a life.

Not only is it possible to become an organ donor after turning 50 years old, it is encouraged.

The National Institute on Aging recently has stepped up its efforts to encourage older adults to become organ donors.

Armando Paolino is among seniors in The Villages who already are willing to donate.

Paolino, of the Village of Woodbury, regularly donates blood and has been a registered organ donor for about 40 years. He makes sure his driver’s license notates that fact every time he renews it.

“I think it’s a good idea and a good thing to do for the community I live in,” Paolino said.

The benefit is multifold. Each registered organ donor has the ability to save or improve the lives of more than 50 people through organ, eye and tissue donations.

“By registering to be a donor, you give hope to the 121,000 people waiting, and make life possible,” said Hilary Czarda, senior communications and data coordinator for Donate Life America, a nonprofit organ donation advocacy group.

Contrary to popular belief, age does not affect someone’s chances of being a donor.

It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of people older than the age of 50 believe they are too old to become an organ donor, according to Dr. Martin Mai, head of the kidney transplant practice at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Age may lower someone’s chances of donating, but only because there is a higher possibility the person has disqualifying diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes. But even then, Mai said, they can donate tissue, which can help burn victims and in some cases restore a person’s sight.

Regardless of age, if a person is healthy at the time of death, his or her major internal organs can be used to save lives.

“One of the things we have noticed through experience and research is that people older than the age of 50 automatically disqualify themselves for organ donation,” said David Fleming, CEO of Donate Life Florida.

Even bad health does not necessarily disqualify someone from becoming a donor. Mai used the example of someone who drank heavily. While the heart and liver may not be useful, the rest of that person’s organs may be healthy enough to transplant.

Earlier this week, John Hopkins University was approved to perform the nation’s first HIV-positive to HIV-positive transplant. This new practice in organ transplantation will save or improve the lives of more than 1,000 people each year affected by HIV.

Fleming said it is best to leave the decision of what can and cannot be used to medical professionals, who make that decision at the time of death after a full medical evaluation.

Currently, 30 percent of registered organ donors are older than the age of 50, and that percentage is increasing despite misconceptions. According to Fleming, and the National Institute on Aging, that may partially be because seniors today generally are in better health.

“More people today are living healthier lives and know the importance of living and eating well and exercising,” NIA Deputy Director Marie A. Bernard said. “That means we’re in better shape than ever. We’re also able to be donors and recipients at later ages than anyone might have imagined.”

Donate Life would like to encourage everyone regardless of age, race, religion, sex or state of health to register, because it increases the number of lives saved.

Signing up is easy. It can be done online through the Donate Life website, through your local state registry or the next time you renew your driver’s license. Your organs will be donated at the time of your death.

There is no cost for the donation and no financial burden on the donor’s family, and the surgery is done with care, so the individual still can have an open casket funeral if desired. Other questions and concerns are answered on

To become a living donor, contact the nearest transplant center, according to the American Transplant Foundation. Donors may choose to be known or anonymous, but they do have to go through a series of tests and exams to ensure they are a match for the intended recipient.

A living donor also must take into consideration all medical, travel and lodging costs.

The oldest recorded organ donor in the nation was 94 years old, according to Donate Life America. And Villagers already know you’re never too old to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Lurvin Fernandez is a staff writer with The Villages Daily Sun. She can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9062, orlurvin [dot] fernandez [at] thevillagesmedia [dot] com.

Donate Life America Announces 2015 James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award Winner


RICHMOND, October 19, 2015 – Donate Life America (DLA), a national non-profit organization committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives, while continuing to develop a culture where donation is embraced as a fundamental human responsibility, will present David Fleming, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine, with the James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award tomorrow at DLA’s annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.

The James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award is named in honor of the transplant surgeon pioneer who founded the Coalition on Donation (now Donate Life America). The award is presented annually to an individual outside the professional donation and transplantation community, who has played a significant national role in helping to educate the public about organ, eye and tissue donation and promoting donor registration.

ESPN The Magazine writer David Fleming’s interest in tissue donation was piqued with a single phrase: “cadaver tissue.” Dave wondered what it meant. After some initial research, he called AlloSource, a tissue bank in Centennial, Colorado, to see if he could learn more about tissue donation. He went above and beyond, asking questions and learning about a very complex process. His experience is detailed in his online and print piece, “Carson Palmer’s Lasting Connection,” featured in ESPN The Magazine, one of the most popular magazines in the U.S. – read by 15 million people per issue.

Dave also flew to Illinois to further his understanding of the organ and tissue procurement side of donation. He met with Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, a donor family and a tissue recipient so he could see firsthand how donation affects people on both sides of this meaningful process. These meetings informed a new piece of the story, “Tissue Donation is the Ultimate Gift,” an article that ran online and was very positively received. Many people commented on both articles that they would like to see more pieces like these from ESPN and that the story was important and exceptionally well told.

The social media reach of Dave’s article, “Carson Palmer’s Lasting Connection,” included 24,000 shares and over 180 comments, for example:

“Thank you for running this story, I’m a kidney transplant recipient and without a transplant would probably not be here at all. The public needs to hear these stories so they will consider becoming a donor. It’s the greatest gift you can give or leave when you die. You have the power to save someone’s life.”

“Every sports fan, nope make that every human being, ought to make certain that box is checked on your driver’s license. It won’t cost you a thing, and as science progresses more and more people will benefit, from a single donor. I’ve also had multiple knee surgeries, and as a USC alum I’ve always been a fan of CP. Big thanks to Mrs. Hyde for her most gracious gift. I’d like to think a part Julie lives on, in Carson and those touched by your kindness.”

Dave has now encouraged those inside and outside the sports industry to stop using outdated terminology and to use “donor tissue” instead – language that honors and respects the gift given by the donor and donor family.

Dave educated a new audience about donation, worked tirelessly to ensure this story would reach as many people as possible. For his outreach and commitment to educate the public about organ, eye and tissue donation, DLA is honored to present David Fleming with this year’s James S. Wolf, M.D., Courage Award.


About Donate Life America

Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and Donate Life State Teams across the United States committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate LifeSM; develops and executes effective multi-media donor education programs; motivates the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors; and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries.


Hilary Czarda

hczarda [at] donatelife [dot] net


2015 Annual Update Released


Donate Life America is pleased to release our 2015 Annual Update, entitled What can WE make possible?  The report celebrates our shared accomplishments and challenges us to do even more.  Some highlights from the past year include:

  • Over 50 percent (124,602,453) of U.S. adults are registered donors, demonstrating that the majority of Americans accept donation as a fundamental human responsibility.
  • 46 percent of recovered organ donors, 50 percent of recovered tissue donors and 53 percent of recovered eye donors were authorized through state donor registries, emphasizing the importance of our ongoing work to register donors.
  • Fall 2015 launch of the new Donate Life Registry to enable easy response to national campaigns and partnerships on mobile devices and through online transactions.
  • Successful collaborations ranging from ALEX AND ANI® to Sigma Pi and continued support from corporate partners including AATB, Genentech and Novartis.
  • 172,000 Donate Life America Facebook fans and an average reach of 220,000 impressions per week with a lifesaving message about donation.
  • Launch of Donate Life ECHO / Done Vida ECO (Every Community Has Opportunity), a national observance developed in association with AMAT to reach and empower multicultural communities to share the powerful message of donation.
  • Premier of The Wish – A Story of Hope, Faith and Generosity, a faith-based film intended for use in schools and houses of worship and perfect for the upcoming National Donor Sabbath.
  • Funding support from 250 transplant centers, labs, OPOs and eye banks, as well as thousands of gifts made in memory or honor of those touched by donation and transplantation.

Moving forward, we are eager to launch new campaigns, promote living donation through education and connection, and activate donation supporters to reach out to those around them. Together, we can increase the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives, while continuing to develop a culture where donation is embraced as a fundamental human responsibility.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing what We can make possible in the coming year.

G. David Fleming

President and CEO

The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) Teams Up with Donate Life America (DLA) to Launch New National Observance: Donate Life ECHO

(Richmond, VA—July 6, 2015)—The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) and Donate Life America (DLA) are joining forces to launch “Donate Life ECHO,” a new national observance designed to reach multicultural communities. ECHO, which stands for: Every Community Has Opportunity, is being launched to bolster engagement with African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, and other multicultural communities.

The new observance, ECHO, has two objectives: one is to focus on the power of sharing one’s personal decision to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor with members of one’s community; the second is to encourage registered donors to ask members of their personal networks and extended communities to register as donors. Through the ECHO concept of reiteration and repetition—with people sharing the life-affirming message of donation within their community—more lives will be saved and healed.

“This strategic initiative is about empowering individuals to echo the message of donation throughout their respective communities, while building momentum together,” said Remonia Chapman, president of AMAT. “We are delighted to collaborate with DLA for this groundbreaking effort to equip people from all backgrounds with a host of culturally relevant tools and resources that have been designed to foster meaningful conversations and personal testimonies about the vitally important health topic of organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation.”

The two-week observance will be held during the second and third full weeks in July. This year’s inaugural observance will be held July 12 – July 25. ECHO is not intended to replace current programs and commemorations; rather, it offers a new mid-year opportunity with tremendous social media and community potential. As nearly 60 percent of the current U.S. transplant waiting list is comprised of ethnically diverse patients, the need for increased education efforts and new strategic approaches is a critical step toward increasing the number of registered donors in multicultural communities.

David Fleming, DLA President and CEO, added: “DLA is excited to be working with AMAT on this new observance, which has the potential to reach specific communities in an innovative way. It is no coincidence that the words ‘community’ and ‘opportunity’ both include the word ‘unity,’ as together, we can create lifesaving change. This transformative observance highlights that great good that can come from sharing the importance of registering as a donor with our family, friends and communities.”

The new observance will be translated into multiple languages, including Spanish. Done Vida ECO, which stands for Esperanza, Comunidad y Oportunidad, translates to “hope,” “community,” and “opportunity.” Together, AMAT and DLA will offer a Donate Life ECHO digital toolkit that will include: social media banners, graphics, talking points, and an array of resources that can be customized for specific audiences. To learn more, visit: and


About the Association of Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT)
AMAT was established in 1992 to address the increasing need for organ and tissue donors in the multicultural communities while simultaneously offering support, shared expertise and professional development opportunities for its members as they save and heal lives. AMAT is a self-sustaining, self-governed organization operating solely on voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and other affiliated organizations. For more information, visit:

About Donate Life America (DLA)
Donate Life America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and Donate Life State Teams across the United States committed to saving and healing lives through increased organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America, with the help of its corporate partners, is dedicated to spreading the word about the importance of being a registered donor so that others may live. For more information, visit:


Media Contacts:

Ayanna Anderson, Public Relations Chair
aanderson [at] dnwest [dot] org, Ph: (510) 251.7003
Donate Life America
Aaron Kelchner
akelchner [at] donatelife [dot] net, Ph: (804) 377.3584

Change to Number of People Who Die Daily


UNOS’ research department has verified 2014 death data and has determined that there is a change in a statistic that we often provide.

The average number of people who die every day because a transplant did not become available in time is now 22. This includes removals for deaths and deaths identified from external sources within 30 days of removal from the waiting list. There were 8,181 deaths during 2014 as of June 12, 2015.

So that the entire transplant and donation community is on the same page and provides the same data, we’re waiting until July 1, to update this number on the OPTN website.  We encourage you to update your numbers that day as well.

Here are other transplant numbers commonly used:

An average of 81 transplants take place every day in the United States.

Another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes.

More than 123,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant.

2014 was a record breaking year for the number of transplants performed and the number of deceased donor transplants.

29,532 transplants were performed in 2014. It was the first time more than 29,000 transplants were performed in a single year.

23,715 transplants were from deceased donors.  Similarly, it was the first time more than 23,000 deceased-donor transplants were done in a year.


Please contact Anne Paschke with any questions.

“Find Your Adventure” for the 127th Rose Parade

A message from the Tom Mone, Float Chairman

We are proud to announce the 2016 Donate Life Rose Parade Float campaign has just begun with new features, bonuses, and improvements for an experience full of memories to last a lifetime. The unyielding passion and commitment to honoring donors, celebrating recipients and inspiring the country to Donate Life is more alive than ever.  Changes made to the program structure are based on participant feedback, sponsor requests, and parade standards; all designed to create an even greater experience for all involved.

Thank You

This New Year’s Day, 60+ million viewers in the US and around the world will watch as we celebrate community, life and hope associated with Donation and Transplantation in the 127th annual Rose Parade.  Thank you to our sponsors for your long-standing support and for making the program possible over the last 11 years.  We also would like to thank the following sponsors who have already committed their support for 2016: Alabama Organ Center, The American Association of Tissue Banks, Axogen, Cryolife, Cytonet, Dignity Memorial, Donor Alliance, Donate Life San Diego, Donate Life Texas, LifeCenter Northwest, LifeShare of Oklahoma, Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, New Jersey Sharing Network, SightLife, and UNYTS.

Added Features & Adjustments

Based on the years of feedback from float participants, requests from our sponsors and the need to preserve the priceless value of the program, the DLRP float committee has developed a new, strategic approach to sponsorship which includes the following:

  • All-inclusive packages with bonuses and which assure a certain number of hotel rooms, event tickets, and activities (opportunities to purchase additional hotel and event tickets, if available, will be offered in August).
  • Breathtaking float design that captures the heart of our mission from our new builder, the consistently award-winning Paradiso Parade Floats.
  • Robust, tailored media plans that highlight powerful local stories of donation and sponsorship designed to reach millions across the nation and include tracking tools that demonstrate an even greater ROI.
  • The gorgeous Pasadena Hilton Hotel will exclusively house the Donate Life Rose Parade program participants, sponsors and events for a more intimate, convenient and classy affair.
  • A revived evening event that rings in the New Year, inclusive of all groups, offers celebratory champagne toasts and a raffle full of generous prizes – all at no additional cost in the same hotel as your stay.
  • Considerate sponsorship support with improved payment terms for more efficient accounting and response time.
  • Online tools that simplify the multiple booking processes and deliver confirmations for all reservations electronically, including sponsorship, hotels, events, float decorating, rose dedications and more.
  • A Welcome Lounge with trained staff and mobile-friendly online tools available via our new website to field questions and special requests year round.
  • Online photo galleries to commemorate the event with participants and sponsors to be posted on New Year’s Day across multi-media channels for maximum exposure.
  • Guaranteed engagement with families of donation captured and shared in priceless photo moments across the nation.
  • A la carte options:  We are pleased to offer special consideration for those in need of an arrangement during this year as we transition for greater success.  Please reach out to us with questions about your past or future participation.
  • Please be aware that price adjustments have been made with great consideration of our community and reflect the unavoidable cost changes since our first float program over 10 years ago.

In short, the DLRP float committee has moved in a bold new direction…new designer, new sponsorship packages, new events…to assure the best possible experience for our sponsors and their guests, to assure the best possible image and media support to get our message to the world, and to assure that the float program is financially viable for the foreseeable future.

For inquiries, please reach out to Nicole Olivas Jenkins at njenkins [at] onelegacy [dot] org or (213) 229-5681


Tom Mone
Chief Executive Officer

Organization Name Changes


California Transplant Donor Network is now Donor Network West

Indiana Organ Procurement Organization is now Indiana Donor Network

New York Organ Donor Network is now LiveOnNY

Announcing Eversight!

On March 20th Midwest Eye-Banks and its affiliates – Cleveland Eye Bank, Illinois Eye-Bank, Lions Eye Bank of New Jersey and Michigan Eye-Bank – became Eversight (Eversight Illinois, Eversight Michigan, Eversight Ohio, Eversight New Jersey).

Our new name was chosen to better represent who we are – a growing network of community-based eye banks that, together, provides the resources and expertise of a global organization. Our vision for the future is to expand our reach, connect more effectively with our communities and provide a life full of sight to all people in need. As Eversight, we will continue to fulfill our mission of preserving and restoring sight through transplantation, research, education and partnership.

Michigan Eye-Bank is now Eversight Michigan

Cleveland Eye-Bank is now Eversight Ohio

Illinois Eye-Bank is now Eversight Illinois

Lions Eye-Bank of New Jersey is now Eversight New Jersey