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Donate Life California Honors Senator Ben Allen as Legislator of the Year

SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 4, 2017 – Donate Life California kicked off April as National Donate Life Month by recognizing California Senator Ben Allen as Legislator of the Year for his work on legislation in support of organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life California is the state’s nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry.

Senator Allen also co-authored a Senate Resolution designating April 2017 as Donate Life/DMV Partnership Month in California, with Senator Tom Berryhill, who received a heart transplant in May 2001. The Donate Life California board of directors witnessed the resolution presentation on the Senate Floor.

“Donate Life California wants to recognize Senator Allen as Donate Life California’s Legislator of the Year for his leadership in authoring legislation that decriminalizes organ donation between HIV-positive donors and HIV-positive recipients,” said Monica Johnson, Donate Life California Board President. “The implementation of this bill allows us to honor the wishes of people with HIV who choose to be organ donors, and in doing so, saves more lives through donation and transplantation.”

Senator Allen authored SB 1408, which amends an outdated California statute to remove a provision that prohibited HIV-positive individuals from donating organs, thus bringing state law in line with federal law under the HOPE (HIV Organ Policy Equity) Act and allowing for organ donation between HIV-positive donors and HIV-positive recipients.

“I am honored to receive this award from Donate Life California, a wonderful organization that saves thousands of lives each year by promoting organ, eye and tissue donation. I am proud to be an ally in this worthy effort,” Senator Allen (D – Santa Monica) said.

National Donate Life Month, celebrated each April, is a national campaign aimed at encouraging the public to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and to celebrate those who have saved lives through the gift of donation. This campaign is especially important in California, which has the longest waiting list but where only about 40 percent of adults are signed up to be organ, eye and tissue donors, putting California well below the national average of 50 percent.

The Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry – which has grown from 9,000 when it launched in 2004 to nearly 14 million in April 2017 – offers hope to those on the waiting list who count on the kindness and generosity of others for the “gift of life.”

Earl Lovell of Suisun City, CA, a retired Navy veteran, husband and father, and was the picture of health until he suffered a “widowmaker” heart attack in June 2009 that so severely damaged his heart, he required a transplant. On August 1, 2012, Earl received a “new” heart, thanks to his donor, a 42-year old husband and father. “It is the greatest gift I could ever have received. I owe it to my donor and the family he left behind to tell the world of his unselfish act.”

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is an important Donate Life California partner, with 95 percent of California’s nearly 14 million registered organ, eye and tissue donors having checked “YES!” while applying for or renewing their California driver license or ID. Californians can also sign up on the registry at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org.

Each day in the U.S., 22 people die waiting because the organ they needed did not come available in time. Organs needed for transplant are heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas or intestine.

Tissue transplants, meanwhile, save and heal lives. Tissues for transplant include cornea, skin, heart valves, bone tissue, tendons, veins, ligaments and cartilage. More than a million tissue transplants are done each year, and the surgical need for tissue has been steadily rising. Corneal transplants restore sight to nearly 50,000 people each year.

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • 21,886 people are on the organ transplant waiting list in California; 118,368 are waiting nationally (i.e. one in five on the national organ transplant waiting list lives in California.)
  • More than 33,000 people in the U.S. begin new lives each year thanks to organ transplants (about 91 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.

Cathedral City Man to be Honored as an Organ & Tissue Donor Hero on the Donate Life Float in the 2017 Rose Parade®

Ishmiel Ward, an organ & tissue donor from Cathedral City, Calif. is Donate Life California's 2017 Donate Life Rose Parade float floragraph honoree.

Ishmiel Ward, an organ & tissue donor from Cathedral City, Calif. is Donate Life California’s 2017 Donate Life Rose Parade float floragraph honoree.

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Dec. 7, 2016 – Ishmiel Ward, a young Cathedral City man with a generous spirit and big heart, will be honored as an organ and tissue donor on the Donate Life float in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade®. Today, Ishmiel’s family put the finishing touches on a floral portrait of his likeness, called a floragraph, during a special unveiling ceremony with Donate Life California at the Riverside East office of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The Donate Life float, Teammates in Life, a Polynesian-style catamaran, will sail down the streets of Pasadena during the 128th Rose Parade® on January 2, 2017.

Ish, as his family called him, was involved in church and youth group activities, and expressed a desire to go into the military. However, in June 2011, at just 20 years old, his life was tragically cut short. Through their grief, Ish’s family decided to help others by donating his organs and tissue, saving the life of his great aunt in New York with a directed kidney donation. Ish’s lungs, liver, and other kidney saved three other people in Southern California; and his gifts of bone tissue helped countless others.

“We are a big, close family and we all saw organ and tissue donation as a way for him and us to pay it forward,” says Shirley Howell, Ishmiel’s aunt and manager at the Riverside East DMV office. “The pain of losing Ish will never go away. But, his last act as a donor is a comfort because we know he lives on in others.”

DL-DMV-10DMV and Donate Life California became state-authorized partners in 2006. Since then, more than 600,000 lives have been saved and healed thanks to registered organ, eye and tissue donors in California, 95 percent of whom checked “YES!” at the DMV.

“Every time I hear a story about a life-saving donation such as Ishmiel Ward’s, I appreciate the special meaning and impact our partnership has had for so many donor recipients and their families,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “I would like to personally thank Donate Life California for honoring a DMV family member on the Donate Life Rose Parade float.”

dlfloat_5w_300dpi_rgb“This year’s float theme reminds us that no one succeeds alone – and that’s reflected in our partnership with the DMV. They truly are our teammates in life. Without a doubt, we are saving and healing more lives thanks to the DMV,” said Tom Mone, Donate Life California board member, chairman of the Donate Life float committee and CEO of OneLegacy, the nonprofit organ, eye and tissue recovery organization serving the greater Los Angeles area. “We are deeply grateful to the staff at the DMV, who help us spread the word about the life-saving power of organ, eye and tissue donation. They, along with all of the float’s sponsors, enable us to deliver life-changing messages on one of the biggest stages in the U.S., the Tournament of Roses Parade.”

More than 22,000 people in California await life-saving organ transplants. Despite the
vital need, only about 45 percent of adults in California are signed up to be organ, eye and tissue donors. In addition to the DMV, signup on the registry is available at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org.

Each day in the U.S., 22 people die waiting because the organ they needed did not come available in time. Organs needed for transplant are heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas or intestine.

Tissue transplants, meanwhile, save and heal lives. Tissues for transplant include cornea, skin, heart valves, bone tissue, tendons, veins, ligaments and cartilage. More than a million tissue transplants are done each year, and the surgical need for tissue has been steadily rising. Corneal transplants restore sight to nearly 50,000 people each year.

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • One in five on the U.S. organ transplant waiting list lives in California.
  • All major religions support or permit organ, eye and tissue donation.
  • You’re never too old or sick to be a registered organ, eye and tissue donor.

Additional media contact: Tania Llavaneras, OneLegacy, tllavaneras@onelegacy.org, 213-503-9285

About the Donate Life Float in the 2017 Rose Parade®:

2017 Donate Life Float renderingThe 2017 Donate Life Rose Parade float, Teammates in Life, reflects the parade’s theme, “Echoes of Success,” by reminding us that no one succeeds alone. We all thrive by working together and pulling in the same direction. Donors save the lives of grateful recipients and help families heal, and it is the large community of registered donors that makes it possible to save thousands of lives across the country each year.

The float design depicts a spectacular Polynesian catamaran, which will be propelled by a team of 24 organ, eye and tissue transplant recipients rowing in unison with strength gained from their donors. The sails of the vessel will feature 60 floral portraits (floragraphs) of donors interwoven with Polynesian designs and patterns. Just as the donors’ gifts empower the lives of others, the sails help power the catamaran on its journey. Sixteen living donors will walk alongside the float carrying flowers in celebration of the life they have given to others and the quality of life they continue to enjoy themselves. The ocean waves will showcase 1,000 white Akito roses, individually dedicated in memory of specific donors. Vibrant i’iwi and ‘amakihi birds perch among the lush landscape of tropical flowers and palm threes while a pair of tikis, representing light and life, abundance and peace, peer out of the jungle. The float will exude life with colorful, exotic blooms grown in Hawai’i especially for the occasion. The float will sail down the streets of Pasadena during the 128th Rose Parade on Monday, January 2, 2017 at 8 a.m. (PST).

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.

Fallen Heroes to be Honored on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade®

dlfloat_5w_300dpi_rgbWHITTIER, Calif., Nov. 17, 2016 – Fallen California law enforcement heroes will be honored in a special way in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade®. Today, families of fallen officers attended a Donate Life rose dedication ceremony at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department STARS Center, hosted by Donate Life California and the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation. The families were presented with certificates and roses in honor of their loved ones’ service and sacrifice, and were given the opportunity to write special dedications to their fallen officers. Those dedications will be placed with white Akito roses on the Donate Life float, which showcases the life-saving importance of organ, eye and tissue donation, honors donors and their families, and recognizes all who make donation and transplant possible.

officer-shaun-diamond-125x170

Officer Shaun Diamond, Pomona Police Department, End of Watch October 29, 2014

Margo Diamond’s father, Officer Shaun Diamond, of the Pomona Police Department, was killed in the line of duty on October 29, 2014. The 16-year law enforcement veteran and SWAT officer was serving a search warrant when he was shot. Despite exhaustive life-saving efforts, Officer Diamond didn’t survive his injuries. Margo says despite their grief, she and her family didn’t hesitate to consent to organ donation because she knew it’s what her father wanted. Years earlier, he had donated a kidney to his son, Kelly, whose own kidneys had failed due to a condition he’d had since birth. Officer Diamond saved many lives both as a living kidney donor and as a deceased organ donor.

“We know what it’s like to watch a loved one’s life hang in the balance waiting for an organ transplant,” said Margo. “Not everyone can be a living donor like my dad was, but everyone can register to be a donor after they’re gone to help people like my brother. Everyone has a Kelly Diamond.”

Nearly 22,000 people in California are waiting for life-saving organ transplants, 85 percent of which need kidneys.

“All law enforcement officers put on their uniforms every day knowing the inherent risks they face. Despite those risks, they have sworn to serve and protect. To save lives even if it costs their own. That alone is heroic,” said Tom Mone, Donate Life California board member and Donate Life float chairman. “In some cases, law enforcement officers and their families make another heroic choice. A choice to say “yes” to organ, eye and tissue donation. Today, we honor them and all of our law enforcement heroes.”

“We continue to remember and mourn the loss of each fallen law enforcement officer who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Asst. Sheriff Todd Rogers, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “We ask a lot of our law enforcement and each and every day police officers go out there and leave their families to protect others. That commitment to service is one that is instilled in the very best of us and we have chosen this profession despite the tremendous responsibility and risk. We will forever be grateful to these heroes who wore the badge and for the lasting contributions and life they have given others in the communities we serve.”

cpomf-logo-new“This ceremony honors the service and sacrifices of law enforcement officers and their families, and we’re proud to be a part of it,” said Wayne Quint, executive director of California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation. “But it also brings attention to something we can all do to serve our communities – registering to be organ, eye and tissue donors. It’s something that takes almost no time at all, but it could make a huge difference to the people on the transplant list and their families.”

This year’s Donate Life float theme, Teammates in Life, reflects the team effort that makes organ, eye and tissue donation and transplant possible. It also fits into the spirit of the parade theme, “Echoes of Success,” which reminds us that no one succeeds alone. The 2017 Donate Life Float’s Polynesian-style catamaran will sail down the streets of Pasadena during the 128th Rose Parade® on January 2, 2017.

The families of the following fallen officers, in order of End-of-Watch (EOW) date, were honored today and dedicated roses for the Donate Life float:

Sergeant Scott Paul Lunger, Hayward Police Department, EOW 7/22/15
Officer Shaun Diamond, Pomona Police Department, EWO 10/29/14
Officer Nicholas C. Lee, Los Angeles Police Department, EOW 3/7/14
Deputy Eric A. Thach, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, EOW 10/8/99
Deputy John Paul Monego, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, EOW 12/12/98

The names and biographies of all California peace officers who have died in the line of duty can be found at www.camemorial.org under the “Honor Roll” tab.

Fast Facts from Donate Life California:

  • 22 people across the country die each day awaiting life-saving organ transplants.
  • One in five on the U.S. organ transplant waiting list lives in California.
  • All major religions support or permit organ, eye and tissue donation.
  • You’re never too old or sick to be a registered organ, eye and tissue donor.

Media contacts: Brianne Mundy Page, brianne@donateLIFEcalifornia.org, 858-220-8351; Tania Llavaneras, OneLegacy, tllavaneras@onelegacy.org, 213-503-9285; Nicole Nishida, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, nnishida@lasd.org, 323-810-1973

About the Donate Life Float in the 2017 Rose Parade®:

2017 Donate Life Float renderingThe 2017 Donate Life Rose Parade float, Teammates in Life, reflects the parade’s theme, “Echoes of Success,” by reminding us that no one succeeds alone. We all thrive by working together and pulling in the same direction. Donors save the lives of grateful recipients and help families heal, and it is the large community of registered donors that makes it possible to save thousands of lives across the country each year.

The float design depicts a spectacular Polynesian catamaran, which will be propelled by a team of 24 organ, eye and tissue transplant recipients rowing in unison with strength gained from their donors. The sails of the vessel will feature 60 floral portraits (floragraphs) of donors interwoven with Polynesian designs and patterns. Just as the donors’ gifts empower the lives of others, the sails help power the catamaran on its journey. Sixteen living donors will walk alongside the float carrying flowers in celebration of the life they have given to others and the quality of life they continue to enjoy themselves. The ocean waves will showcase 1,000 white Akito roses, individually dedicated in memory of specific donors. Vibrant i’iwi and ‘amakihi  birds perch among the lush landscape of tropical flowers and palm threes while a pair of tikis, representing light and life, abundance and peace, peer out of the jungle. The float will exude life with colorful, exotic blooms grown in Hawai’i especially for the occasion. The float will sail down the streets of Pasadena during the 128th Rose Parade on Monday, January 2, 2017 at 8 a.m. (PST).

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.

About the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation

The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation is a nonprofit charitable foundation whose mission is to recognize and honor California’s peace officers who gave their lives ‘In the Line of Duty’ serving the citizens of this great state, and provides support to the family members left behind. For more information, go to www.camemorial.org.

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