PRSSA holds event to promote organ donation

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By Bailey Buller, Contributor

Becoming an organ donor can save up to eight lives.

This key message became the rallying point at the “It’s a Piece of Cake, Saving 8” event held April 16 to encourage students to become registered donors.

Even students who sign up to be registered donors when they receive their driver’s licenses don’t know enough information about how organ and tissue donation saves and improves the quality of countless lives.

More than 114,000 Americans are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and nearly 500 of them are Nebraskans, according to the Nebraska Organ Recovery System.

In partnership with NORS, a team from the UNO Public Relations Student Society of America held an 80-minute drive at the Milo Bail Student Center plaza. The event moved to the HPER atrium where more than 100 students listened to heart recipient Scott Stanley share his story.

“As of this June, I’ll be 8 years old,” Stanley said. “I still have not heard from my donor family, but let me tell you, I am eternally grateful to them – their lost family member saved my life.”

Stanley also told the audience how the transplant has allowed him to be a father to his children and be an important part of their lives.

PRSSA received assistance in arranging for Stanley’s appearance and providing students with educational materials from Andrea Eichen, NORS public relations director. Eichen said she was pleased with the turnout.

MaverickPR, the UNO PRSSA chapter, holds an event every April as part of its National Organ Donor Awareness Competition, which encourages PRSSA chapters to promote organ donation in their states.

This year, the drive featured a cupcake happy hour and a raffle to draw students’ interest.

The team reached its goal of reaching 80 people in 80 minutes who signed up to be donors or showed proof of being a registered donor.

“I’m very proud of our students who took the time out of their busy lives to work so hard to make this event a success,” said Karen Weber, PRSSA faculty adviser. “If we can educate more people on the facts, we can literally help save lives.”

 

Facts on Organ Donation

  • Seventeen people on the national waiting list die every day, about 6,000 people every year or one person every 85 minutes due to lack of available organs.
  • Every day, more than 100 new names are added to the list. That is one person added every 14 minutes, every day.
  • People between the ages of 18 and 49 make up 60 percent of the national waiting list.
  • People over the age of 16 can indicate their consent to be an organ and tissue donor, but a parent or guardian can override that decision until the child is over 18 years old.
  • Recent medical technology has made it possible for more people to donate than ever before, even those over the age of 80.
  • The only absolute medical disqualifier for donation is HIV/AIDS.

Information taken from the Nebraska Organ Recovery System website at www.nedonation.org

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