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The Greatest Gift of All

While shopping recently at Target I found myself in the holiday section of the store amongst the mix of Halloween candy and Christmas decor. Every year it seems like the holiday season arrives earlier. Many of us, me included, get caught up in the rush of gift giving. We spend hours shopping for the perfect gifts for our family and friends, wrapping these tokens of our affection in festive paper and looking forward to the smiles they will bring. And although shopping is part of my holiday celebration, I also try to think about the joys the season will bring – time with friends and family and the opportunity to help others.

In recent years, I have added a new tradition to my holiday season. As the community outreach/partnership coordinator for Lifeline of Ohio, I kick off the season of giving by speaking with multiple religious groups about the “Gift of Life” during National Donor Sabbath, knowing the information I share will make a difference in others’ lives.

Although we never know the full impact we truly make in life, and after, I tell people the best gifts they can give cost nothing, and it only takes a few minutes of planning to give. These priceless treasures are the gifts of life, sight and mobility. I can’t think of a better gift than giving someone the “Gift of Life.” By registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor an individual has the opportunity to save up to eight lives through organ donation and to heal up to 50 more people through tissue donation.

I look forward to advocating for the 109,000 Americans waiting for their life-saving transplant during National Donor Sabbath, which is November 12-14, 2010. If your holiday traditions include helping others, I encourage you to get involved with National Donor Sabbath by inviting us to speak to your religious or community group, utilizing our free materials or sharing your personal connection to donation.

Each individual who registers to be a donor provides hope to those waiting. And each person who goes on to be an organ and tissue donor offers a remarkable gift to those whom they heal – the gift of time and the opportunity to return to a life filled with friends and family.  And I think we can all agree it is a beautiful gift to give and receive.

– Lauren Fitting, community outreach/partnership coordinator

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