By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY– During April LifeShare of Oklahoma and the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City are partnering for the purpose of saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. Through this month-long partnership, Oklahomans can register to save lives as a donor while at the Y.
LifeShare is a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes.
During the month of April, which is National Donate Life Month, members of the YMCA and the Oklahoma City community are invited to visit a participating YMCA location to register their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. While filling out the form to register, they are also entering to win one of three year-long memberships to the YMCA.
“LifeShare is proud to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Y to provide this unique opportunity to Greater Oklahoma City,” said Jeffrey Orlowski, President and CEO of LifeShare of Oklahoma.
“This powerful partnership allows us to encourage healthy living while encouraging the public to save lives through donation,” Orlowski added. “LifeShare is committed to raising awareness about organ donation and giving the Oklahoma community every opportunity to make that decision.”
According to the LifeShare Oklahoma website, more than 123,000 Americans are currently waiting for lifesaving organ transplants; more than 600 of them are Oklahomans. Of those on the waiting list, more than 4500 die each year, while more than 3500 have their health deteriorate so much that the transplantation becomes impossible.
Every day, 22 Americans die waiting for an organ transplant.
Sixty-four percent of Oklahoman’s have registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors. Eighty-two percent of patients waiting are in need of a kidney transplant.
One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of up to 75 people.
In 2020, LifeShare of Oklahoma, experienced its sixth consecutive record-breaking year in the number of organ donors who saved and healed lives through organ and tissue donation. LifeShare works closely with four transplant centers and 145 healthcare organizations in the state of Oklahoma to facilitate donation.
In addition, the organization strives to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education.
Throughout 2019, LifeShare coordinated the recovery of 516 lifesaving organs from 197 organ donor heroes, surpassing the organization’s all-time high of 188 donors set in 2018. These precious gifts allowed LifeShare to provide 455 grateful organ transplant recipients with a second chance at life.
LifeShare’s annual donation rate of 50 organ donors-per-million-population ranks among the highest in the United States.
Kelly Kay, president and CEO with the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City said, “At the Y, we understand the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. Our mutual work toward healthy friends and neighbors is what makes this a great partnership and education opportunity.
“We encourage our community stop by the Y to learn more and to register as a donor. Who knows, maybe you’ll win a free membership too,” Kay noted.
The general public is invited to register to be a donor and enter to win one of three year-long memberships to the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. Winners will be chosen the first week of May and contacted by phone and/or email.
For more information or a list of Y locations, visit LifeShareOK.org/YMCA.