2017 is a year of expanding connections and opportunities for Lifeline of Ohio. We are very excited about the new mandate in which every public high school in Ohio is now required to include instruction on organ, eye and tissue donation in its Health curriculum. We embrace this requirement with gratitude to our Donate Life Ambassador, Emmalyn Brown, who proposed the idea to her state representative three years ago.
Emmalyn first became an advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation after receiving her life-saving liver transplant on April 9, 2007. During her junior year of high school, her government teacher challenged the class to make a change within their community that could potentially be realized. Emmalyn recognized the lack of information available to teenagers about organ donation, so she proposed legislation that would require donation education to be included as part of the Ohio high school Health curriculum.
After working with her local state representative, Emmalyn’s idea was introduced as House Bill 137 in 2015. The language was later incorporated into House Bill 438 and passed by the 131st Ohio General Assembly in December 2016. We are very proud of this opportunity and of Emmalyn!
Another way in which we are making new connections is through our Pass it on campaign. This campaign launched a movement celebrating the gift of sports aptitude featuring four very diverse and talented young men, each with a unique connection to donation. Since its launch we have made tens of thousands of digital connections and reached a more diverse audience than we otherwise could have imagined. Through the athletes messages we were able to stress the impact they have in their community as sports icons, as well as the impact each one has made as a registered organ, eye and tissue donor.
Mike Pucillo’s story is particularly compelling. Mike is the first All-American wrestler to open up as gay to his community, his family and his sport. Through Mike’s message we were able to dispel the myth in the LGBTQ community that gay men cannot be organ donors. Lifeline of Ohio took this message “to the streets” in this year’s Columbus Pride parade and registered more than 50 new donors in the Ohio Donor Registry! The message was clear that day, “there is no ban on organ donation”!
I want to acknowledge the forward thinking of my staff in these efforts. Clearly, we are ahead of the curve nationally in our discussions and have been recognized as such by our colleagues.
I hope you enjoy the content in this month’s newsletter. And, remember to Pass it on, Donate Life and register your decision in the Ohio Donor Registry!
CEO, Lifeline of Ohio