With nearly 115,000 individuals on the national waiting list for life-saving organ transplants, the need for more registered organ, eye and tissue donors in the U.S. is critical.  An estimated 20 people – men, women and children – die each day for lack of an available organ.  In Ohio alone, more than 2,900 are currently waiting for the Gift of Life.

To raise public awareness about this drastic medical need, Donate Life Ohio is endeavoring to raise Donate Life flags in each of Ohio’s 88 counties in 2018.  By inviting local government offices, schools, hospitals, BMV’s, businesses and organizations to get involved with these local flag-raisings, Donate Life Ohio hopes to encourage the public to stop, pause and consider the difference they can make as a registered organ, eye and tissue donor.

Donate Life flags were originally created in early 2006 after a few hospitals in the Long Island and New York City area reported that they were flying generic donation flags. As word of their efforts was shared with others within the Donate Life Community, Donate Life America took the lead on incorporating the Donate Life logo onto three flag options and gathering orders collectively from interested parties.

In October 2008, an OPO Hospital Services Coordinator asked the donation and transplantation community to imagine Donate Life flags flying across the entire country for National Donate Life Month 2009: from every hospital with a donor the previous year; to every hospital in support of donation; to every transplant center; and to the porches of every donor family, living donor, patient waiting transplant recipient and recipient family. The donation and transplantation community responded with resounding interest.

Flags Across America, a nationwide celebration honoring donors, recipients and waiting patients, was born. What began as a unique idea for National Donate Life Month, took on a life of its own and spread like wildfire. It soon became a year-round tribute with the added benefit of being able to increase donor designations, generate positive media stories and honor donors, recipients and waiting patients. Donate Life flags have been incorporated into flag raising ceremonies, donor recognition ceremonies, workplace partnerships, presented to donor families, displayed at funeral homes during visitations and at memorial services — either on display, as a casket cover or altar cloth, and more.

Since 2006, 50,000 Donate Life flags have served as a nationwide display of unity, remembrance and hope, while honoring those touched by donation and transplantation.   Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Flags Across America initiative, Donate Life Ohio will begin raising flags in March and will hold events throughout the state through November 2018.  This statewide initiative shall serve as an opportunity for Ohioans to consider the difference they can make as an organ, eye and tissue donor.  Stay tuned for updates on the Flags Across Ohio campaign and be sure to follow Lifeline of Ohio on social media to see flags raised throughout our service area!

To learn more about Flags Across Ohio, please contact Lauren Stevens at lstevens@lifelineofohio.org or 614.384.7333.