Across the nation, thousands of, "Donate Life", flags will be flown and displayed throughout the month of April as part of an organ and tissue donor awareness initiative. Dubbed, "Flags Across America", the campaign is the brainchild of the Donate Life America (DLA) coalition. The goal of this effort is to honor and celebrate the hundreds of thousands of donors and recipients whose lives have been affected by organ, eye and tissue donation.
In Iowa, 60 hospitals (including Cherokee Regional Medical Center) have made a commitment to fly the Donate Life Flag during the month of April. Iowa Donor Network, the organization spearheading this campaign on the local level, invites Iowans to view these flags locally and to register their intentions to be donors by visiting www.IowaDonorRegistry.org . At Cherokee Regional Medical Center, the flag is displayed in the cafeteria lobby along with some facts and myths about organ and tissue donation.
Sara Pace Jones, Chairwoman of Donate Life America says she is pleased to join together with partnering donor hospitals, transplant centers and donor organizations like Iowa Donor Network, to spread the Donate Life message and honor organ and tissue donors. "We hope this nationwide display of flags will make people stop, take notice and take action to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor," says Jones. "Taking the appropriate action to sign up to be a donor in your state could give someone a very precious gift -- Life.
Suzanne Conrad, Chief Executive Officer for Iowa Donor Network says she is excited that half of Iowa Hospitals have joined this national effort. "Iowa hospitals are critical to the successful recovery and transplantation of organs and tissue. We are pleased that 57 hospitals have joined us in this effort and hope that this flag will be flown everywhere, every year," says Conrad. "Iowa again led the nation in the number of people consenting to organ, tissue and eye donation by marking 'yes' on a driver's license or identification card. In 2008, 67% of those receiving or renewing a driver's license or identification card consented to donation in this way."
Iowa Donor Network is the non-profit organization that operates as the primary contact for organ, tissue and eye donation services for the state of Iowa. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has certified Iowa Donor Network to function as the single organ procurement agency serving the state of Iowa. Iowa Donor Network also serves as the tissue recovery agency for the state. Iowans can consent to organ, tissue and eye donation prior to death by joining the Iowa Donor Registry (www.IowaDonorRegistry.org).