Donation Education Comes to ALL Ohio Schools!

Have you heard?  Our community education team is excited to start the 2017-18 school year under the new Ohio state mandate which includes organ, eye and tissue donation in the Health curriculum!

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed a bill which mandates Ohio high school Health classes must ” include instruction in: (g) the process of making an anatomical gift under Chapter 2108 of the Revised Code, with an emphasis on the life-saving and life-enhancing effects of organ, eye and tissue donation.”  This is a very important piece of legislation for the donation community and was inspired by a request that Donate Life Ambassador, liver recipient and student, Emmalyn Brown, made to her local representative, Debby Phillips of Athens and Rep. Cheryl Grossman of Grove City.

Schools across the state will have access to free resources on, including a powerful new video (starring our Ambassadors!) and supplies for students to share with their parents.

While we are proud of the materials and new video, we know that having a community educator visit a classroom is the Gold Standard.  If you know an Ohio high school health teacher, please be a strong advocate and share how important donation education is to you – and countless others. Or, send their information to our community education supervisor, Jenny Hudak-Million.

Fall 2017 CEO Update

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!



Kent Holloway

CEO, Lifeline of Ohio

2017 DMV Appreciation Week

Lifeline of Ohio is thrilled to recognize our Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) partners during national DMV Appreciation Week which will be held September 25 – 29, 2017.  This week, supported by Donate Life America, is set aside for recovery partners and state teams across the nation to show their support and gratitude for the employees, managers and administrators who work at BMVs, DMVs and/or Public Safety offices.

In Ohio, more than 5.5 million Ohioans have registered their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.  More than 99 percent of those registered individuals did so at their local BMV.

The BMV is often the place where people are first asked if they want to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. Simply by asking those who are receiving or renewing their driver’s license or state identification card if they want to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, the BMV employees on the front lines are providing hope to the thousands of men, women, and children waiting for a life-saving transplant.

The BMV involvement in the donation process does not stop at the agency counter.  They are also responsible for maintaining the Ohio Donor Registry, which is a secure database that contains the names of registered organ, eye and tissue donors in Ohio.  Additionally, the BMV issues Donate Life license plates and collects monetary donations for the Second Chance Trust Fund.  These voluntary contributions are then used to provide donation education in the state.

To show its support and sincere appreciation for the BMV and their integral role in the donation process, Lifeline of Ohio has set up a formal 2017-2018 “Adopt An Agency” program for its Donate Life Ambassadors.  Donate Life Ambassadors can “adopt” a BMV office (or multiple offices) near their home or workplace and make two special visits during key times of the year (DMV Appreciation Week and Donate Life Month). During these visits, Ambassadors will take Lifeline of Ohio supplied materials to give to the agency, answer questions BMV workers may have about donation and spend time sharing their personal donation story or reason for commitment to donation.

National Donor Sabbath 2017

National Donor Sabbath (NDS) is an annual celebration which gives religious communities the opportunity to show their support for organ, eye and tissue donation, to dispel common donation myths and to encourage family discussions about the topic. This year, NDS will take place November 10-12, 2017 and will kick-start the donation conversation in faith groups across the nation before the rush of the holiday season.

Lifeline of Ohio wants to ensure that religious organizations have access to donation information year round. We make it simple for faith groups to discuss donation by offering free materials. In addition to our usual faith materials, we have a clergy manual which includes sample sermons, hymns, bulletin statements, scripture passages, donation information and more! Sample newsletter articles, e-mails, power point slides, speakers and display boards are also offered.

New this year will be a ‘donation to go’ kit which will be pre-packaged with donation materials including brochures, bulletin inserts, a poster, talking points and more. These kits will be available for congregations of 50, 100 and 250 and will aim to make it easy for faith organizations to start a donation conversation with their members.

Many of these materials can be downloaded directly from our website to make it easy for faith groups to utilize as needed. Hard copy items, including the kit can also be requested on the same site, using our resource request form located at the bottom of the webpage. Anyone can access this information on our website –

For additional information or to receive a hard copy of our resource request form that you can provide to your faith leader, please call Lauren Stevens at 614-384-7333 or e-mail her at

A smile is priceless “Una sonrisa no cuesta nada”

By Claire Pratts, donor sister

My youngest brother, Oniel “Oni” Peña was amazing. He was a believer in the St. Michael prayer, loved tattoos and eating arroz con guandules and pollo frito. He was also passionate about baseball and rooted for the Marlins and Red Sox.

Oni loved his son, Omar. Further, he was a devoted son, brother and uncle – he was my sons’ best friend and accomplice. Our family was incredibly proud when Oni and his girlfriend moved from Miami to Ohio for a better opportunity in 2015. We missed him terribly, but knew he was making a good life there.

Tragically, my brother passed away December 28, 2016 at just 40 years of age. Through our family’s immense loss, other families found great hope and joy. Oni was able to donate his corneas to restore the sight of two people and tissue and bones to heal more than 50 others. We’ve learned a man in his 50s from Ohio was the recipient of one of his corneas. We are hoping to one day meet Oni’s recipients.

Our entire family is proud of Oni for his decision to save and heal lives. We now look at things differently – we’ve learned you can give LIFE after DEATH.

My family encourages you to become an organ, eye and tissue donor as my brother was. Knowing he helped so many through donation – to us, that is priceless.