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Donate Life California Shares Life-saving Message of Organ & Tissue Donation at 53rd California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference

MONTEREY BAY, Calif., Feb. 15, 2016 – Donate Life California, the nonprofit state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry, is participating for the third straight year in the California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference hosted by California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (CAHHS). The 53rd annual conference is Feb. 15 – 18, 2016 in Monterey Bay.

Donate Life California will present to the more than 300 hospital volunteers in attendance about the critical need for organ donors and share ways they can help inspire Californians to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. Conference attendees will hear stories of donor heroes, including Sisto Fuentes of Porterville. Sisto became an organ, eye and tissue donor in February 2014, saving and healing dozens of lives. One of the people he saved was George Grimm of Salinas, who received Sisto’s heart and one of his kidneys after battling advanced heart disease and kidney failure. During the conference, George will share how organ donation gave him his life back and allows him to continue raising his two grandsons. Sisto’s brother, Freddie Fuentes, will share how his brother’s gift to George has also been a gift to the Fuentes family.

“My brother was always a giver. His death was unfortunate and devastating, but being able to save George’s life and the lives of so many others has been a tremendous blessing to our family,” says Freddie. “We miss Sisto.  His death has left a huge hole in our hearts, but because of organ, eye and tissue donation, he lives on.”

“While hospital volunteers are not directly involved in the organ, eye and tissue donation process, they can encourage people in their communities to sign up on the Donate Life California Registry,” says Monica Johnson, president of the Donate Life California board of directors. “Only 43 percent of Californians are registered donors. We’re asking hospital volunteers to join our mission to help increase donor registration.”

Donate Life California has developed a resource for hospital volunteers called the Hospital Volunteer Online Toolkit, which is available at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org/hospitaltoolkit. The toolkit offers guidance for hospital volunteers on how they can:

  • Become involved in Donate Life activities in their hospitals, including Blue & Green Day on Friday, April 15, 2016.
  • Request a speaker – either a donor family member or a transplant recipient – for a gathering, meeting or event.
  • Talk about organ, eye and tissue donation in their communities.

Those attending the conference can also visit the Donate Life California exhibit table on Tuesday and Wednesday for more information.

All Californians can register to be donors by checking “YES!” at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by signing up at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org.

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • 21,913 people in California are on the national organ transplant waiting list (121,515).
  • More than 29,000 people in the U.S. begin new lives each year thanks to organ transplants (about 81 transplants every day).
  • 22 people die each day because the life-saving organ they needed did not become available in time.

About Donate Life California:
Donate Life California is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry. Individuals can add their name to the registry by checking “YES!” every time they renew/apply for their driver license or ID card at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This ensures their desire to donate life will be carried out. A pink “DONOR” dot is added to their driver license or ID as a symbol of their decision. Individuals can also sign up online at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org. As a public service, the registry ensures all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. The registry is administered by Donate Life California and California’s four nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs): Donor Network West, Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services.

Media Contact: Brianne Mundy Page, 858-220-8351, brianne@donateLIFEcalifornia.org.

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