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Online activities will celebrate organ donation through NJ Sharing Network

Bordentown's annual model train show coordinators, Zig Targonski (far left) and Joe Malone (far right) held an exclusive show viewing for Luca Palmisano (right) on Dec. 13. Diagnosed with Alveolar Capillary Disorder shortly after birth, Luca, 2, received a life-saving bilateral lung transplant. Given his affection toward trains, Luca was gifted a model train set by Malone and Targonski. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

NJ Sharing Network, the non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue in the state, will observe National Donate Life Month virtually throughout April to heed social distancing rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrated in April each year, National Donate Life Month usually features an entire month of local, regional and national activities that encourage Americans to register as organ and tissue donors and to celebrate those who have saved lives through the gift of donation, according to information provided by NJ Sharing Network. While clinical team members continue their around-the-clock efforts to focus on saving and enhancing lives, the organization has developed creative ways to promote its mission virtually in online efforts, according to the statement.

NJ Sharing Network will be introducing a host of daily activities through its social media channels, on its website and through targeted emails and mailings to its wide circle of supporters. The organization will be providing social media tools that supporters can use, such as encouraging them to change their Facebook cover photo to a Donate Life Month graphic or add a Donate Life Month frame to their profile picture. Supporters will be asked to share their stories about how organ and tissue donation has improved their lives or why they registered as organ donors.  In addition, NJ Sharing Network will be encouraging supporters to incorporate Donate Life Month’s blue and green colors outside of their homes, including creative chalk art on sidewalks and driveways and window decoration and lights, according to the statement.

“Donate Life Month has always been a time to rally around the importance of organ and tissue donation, which we have traditionally done through community events and activities. Although we will not be able to do in-person activities this year, our team of dedicated staff and volunteers are driven to spread our life-saving message using our online platforms,” Joe Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network, said in the statement.

In 2019, 1,400 donors gave the gift of life and the number of organ donors surpassed 200 for the first time in New Jersey – 206 individuals saved lives through donation, resulting in 601 organs transplanted, according to the statement. An additional 1,139 donors helped heal and enhance the quality of life of those in need of tissue and eye transplants, while 173 individuals made the decision to give life as living kidney donors, according to the statement.

There are nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents awaiting a life-saving transplant, according to the statement. Every day, approximately three people are added to the New Jersey waiting list, and one person dies every three days while waiting for a transplant. One organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can restore health to over 75 people, according to the statement.

For more information, visit NJSharingNetwork.org.

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