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 – www.lifelineofohio.org/donationsaves.

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 lstevens@lifelineofohio.org.

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.

 

Team Zoe – Dash for Donation

By Kimberly Loy, donor mom

Our daughter Zoe was born May 6, 2013. She was warmly welcomed into our family and her big brother Parker was so excited! She was a sweet and healthy baby, an all-around girly girl. Most of the time she wore flowers in her hair and dresses. She loved to be swaddled and cuddle by her family and take trips to the zoo.

Very sadly, Zoe passed when she was just six-weeks old due to SIDS. As my husband and I were trying to wrap our minds around the fact our daughter had just been declared brain dead, a representative from Lifeline of Ohio approached us with the opportunity of donation. They expressed their deep sympathy and asked if we would consider donating Zoe’s tissues to heal and save other children.

Since this is something we had never discussed, we asked for a moment to decide – there was so much going on and we were blind with grief. After my husband and I spoke, we came to the conclusion – yes, we wanted Zoe to be a donor. We felt if our six-week week old could donate to save others, we should take that opportunity.

Weeks after Zoe’s passing we received a letter outlining what she was able to donate – her heart valves, knee and shoulder tissues. Knowing our sweet baby is helping to heal dozens of others and knowing a piece of her is living on is amazing. She is our hero.

To celebrate Zoe’s short life, we always visit the zoo on her birthday. It gives us time as a family to celebrate her in one of her favorite places. And this year, we are taking part in the Dash for Donation on “Team Zoe.” We are so proud of her and look forward to celebrating her short, but BIG, life with thousands of others. We encourage all to not only sign up to be a registered organ, eye and tissue donor, but to also get involved and take part in the Dash for Donation. Help us to give hope to those waiting for their second chance at life, recipients and donor families.

 

Carletta’s Crusaders – Dash for Donation

By VaNeesha Barlow, recipient daughter

My mom, Carletta, loved fiercely, was funny and caring. She was “all-American” as my sisters and I would call her; she loved to eat hamburgers, watch fireworks on the Fourth of July and reveled in each and every holiday. She was the backbone of our family.

At age 25, mom was diagnosed with kidney failure. For six years she went to dialysis three times a week for four hours at a time. She did this while raising myself and my two sisters. Life was tough, but she was tougher.

Finally, in 1999, when she was 31, the Gift of Life in the form of a kidney transplant was given to her. We got our mom back! She was so much happier after transplant, had more energy and could keep up with the three of us girls. Mom was so thankful to her anonymous donor. All we know is that the donor was a man – my grandma has been in touch with the family.

Mom was a fighter and survivor. Although she was not always able to physically participate in the Dash for Donation she registered every year and rallied her team to participate. She was the best team captain, cheering us on from the start to finish with a big smile and loving spirit – all to honor her donor and the life he gave her.

After 10 good years with her gift, the kidney began to fail. She was placed back on the national waiting list for her second chance at life. For the next eight years she hoped and prayed for another donor to be found. But one didn’t come.

In July 2016, at the age of 47, my mom passed away. Although the pain of losing her is still very real and fresh, our family has decided to again participate in the Dash as “Carletta’s Crusaders.” We will walk to honor mom, her donor and those who continue to wait for a life-saving transplant. Doing the Dash without mom will be hard and different, but we feel it’s necessary to honor the man who gave us so many great years with our mom.

I ask you to please consider registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor in honor of my mom. She was given 18 extra years with her girls – you could do the same for another family.

River’s Runners – Dash for Donation

By Donna Richards, donor mom

Corey and River – left to right

My son River was sweet, thoughtful and fair. He was a devoted big brother to Corey and a friend to all – he truly made an impact on those around him.

River loved music – he played everything from the guitar to harmonica. His passion for music was so deep, he was considering becoming an elementary school music teacher.

Unfortunately, his dreams were not meant to be. River passed away December 18, 2016 as a result of a car accident. He was just 20-years old.

To honor his love of Pokémon and Star Trek, we encouraged everyone to wear their favorite t-shirts to his funeral service. And we also urged everyone to follow in his footsteps and to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

You see, my son’s death brought hope to three people. He saved two people with the donation of his kidneys and one with the donation of his liver. So far, we’ve heard from one of his kidney recipients who is doing well after her transplant. We’ve also heard from her parents who thanked River for saving their daughter’s life.

River was a registered donor, something he and I had talked about when he received his license. He knew he wanted to give to others should something ever happen to him. It was a gift to us as well as to his recipients – his death had new meaning.

To honor my son, we are participating in the Dash for Donation on July 15. River’s Runners will take the streets of Columbus to celebrate his decision to give the gifts of life, sight and healing and to encourage others to do the same.

He was such a sweet kid with an infectious laugh. I miss it so much. I ask you to please consider registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor to honor my son, his decision and to give HOPE to so many who are waiting. Donation has meant so much to our family – you can do the same.