Throughout April we have the privilege of collaborating with various organizations across our region in honor of Donate Life Month. Celebrations of this national recognition include events and activities aimed at raising awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation, and acknowledging the heroes that have given others a second chance through their gift of life.

Governor Jay Inslee signs the 2015 Gift of Life Bill

On April 16, we had the honor of collaborating with Washington Governor Jay Inslee for the Governor’s Gift of Life Award ceremony at the capitol building in Olympia. This event provided an opportunity for the families of those who gave the gift of life through organ donation last year to honor their loved ones and witness the signing of the revised Gift of Life Bill. Having a personal connection to donation himself, the Governor acknowledged the power of donation and the difference it made in the life of his son, a cornea recipient. He also recognized all those involved in the donation process, from the hospital staff to the donor families, and most importantly, the heroes that left a legacy through the generous act of organ donation. In addition, LifeCenter Northwest presented the framed floragraph, a floral portrait that adorned the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, of Rachel Givens to her family and thanked them for their generosity and dedication to donation advocacy.

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) was also honored for their collaborative efforts to spread donation awareness, and presented a certificate for recognition as part of the Roses for Registries dedication at the 2015 Rose Parade. More than 90 percent of donors in Washington state registered through the DOL. Our collaboration with the DOL has led to 83 percent of Washington residents over 18 being registered as organ, eye and tissue donors, the third highest percentage in the nation.

Events like this also provide an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our Donor Family Support staff.  In times of trauma and grief, our Family Services team provides onsite care for donor families during the donation process, and continued support through our extensive bereavement aftercare program.  This program includes connecting donor families to a wide network of resources such as support groups, counseling referrals, and grief materials as well as personal touch points through phone calls and letters, for at least a year and a half, and opportunities to connect with their loved one’s recipients. Events like the Governor’s Gift of Life Award serve as ample opportunities for our team to reconnect with families they served in the hospital. To learn more about our grief and bereavement resources visit our Donor Family Support webpage.

We want to acknowledge and thank all the donor families who have shown the courage and the will to spread donation. Your powerful stories will be the ones that speak into the hearts of many and will encourage them to be a hero. We at LifeCenter Northwest could not do this without you, so thank you so much for your support!

A similar event will be held in July at the Montana Capitol building in Helena to honor all the Montanans who gave the gift of life in 2014.