Gift of Life encourages organ donor registration

While in college, many students might be persuaded to join a race of some sort. But there is a race going on now that involves saving more than one person’s life. And to make this race even more interesting, you don’t even have to put on your running shoes in order to compete.

Eastern Michigan University is a part of the 2010 Gift of Life Challenge, a competition to see which Michigan school can encourage the most people to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

The competition that will award two schools with two trophies began on Jan. 14 and ends on Feb. 25. One trophy will be awarded to the school with the most donor registrations, while the other trophy is awarded to the school with the most registrations compared to student population.

While the Gift of Life Challenge has been around for many years, EMU has been out of the race for quite some time. It wasn’t until Jessica Boldon, treasurer of the EMU Student Nurses Association, encouraged EMU to get back in the challenge.

Since the start of the competition, Boldon, an organ donation specialist who works at the University of Michigan, has been trying to get the word out in every way she could.

“We’ve sent out lots of emails, created a Facebook group and contacted radio stations,” Boldon said. “I’m hoping by getting the word out there we can get at least a couple hundred people signed up.”

So far, 100 students at EMU signed up for the challenge, but that doesn’t compare to the 116,484 people who previously joined the Michigan and Ohio organ donor registries through the annual Wolverine vs. Buckeye Challenge for Life, which happened last year.

While Boldon would like thousands of students to register to become a donor, she realizes there is a stigma attached to becoming an organ donor and tries to dispel the myth that so many people believe.

“I know there are a lot of myths out there that [doctors] won’t try their hardest to save you, but it’s completely false; they have no idea that you’re an organ donor,” Boulder said.

“When you are admitted to a hospital or have been in an accident, they don’t know that you are registered as an organ donor unless they look at your license, which normally doesn’t happen unless you’re admitted to a floor in a hospital,” Boulder said.

Boulder also gave insight about the misconception that once you’re an organ donor it’s automatically put on your identification card or license.

“You might possibly not have the sticker on your license, they might just have you on the list,” she said. “So again, they have no idea that you are an organ donor when you’re in the hospital or in an emergency situation.”

Students who are afraid of having the donor sticker shown on the license should know that once a new license or identification card is issued, there will be a permanent donor sticker on your new card.
However, those who are willing to join EMU in the race, should visit www.GiftOfLifeMichigan.org. To sign up, simply click on the button to join the Donor Registry and select Eastern Michigan University from the drop-down menu provided.

Gift of Life, the Michigan organ and tissue donation program, is a nonprofit and independent corporation certified by Medicare and designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as an organ recovery organization for Michigan.

Incorporated in 1971, The Gift of Life was created by transplant surgeons in Michigan in order to have a central coordination network for the sharing of kidneys.

For more information visit www.GiftOfLifeMichigan.org or contact Jessica Boulder at jboldon@emich.edu.


Comments powered by Disqus