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Faith-Based Organizations Show Support of Organ and Tissue Donation During National Donor Sabbath Weekend

15th Annual Observance Nov. 12-14, 2010

Contact: Deborah Saline, 717-580-8160, dsaline@prworksinc.com

HARRISBURG, Penn., Oct. 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- To continue providing education and awareness about the need for organ and tissue donors in Pennsylvania, faith-based organizations throughout the commonwealth will support the 15th Annual National Donor Sabbath Weekend, Nov. 12-14, 2010.

Endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to promote the interfaith celebration of life and the importance of organ and tissue donation, the three-day observance is intended to educate area residents about the process for becoming an organ and tissue donor and transplant.

"The faith-based community provides vital support to our donor registration initiative. National Donor Sabbath weekend is an opportunity to dispel myths and help individuals learn how their religion supports organ donation so they can make the spiritual decision to help save lives," said Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) president and CEO Susan A. Stuart. "We urge residents to talk to their respective religious leaders and consider making the decision to become an organ and tissue donor."

Every 11 minutes, a new name is added to the national organ waiting list, and each day 18 people die because of the shortage of available organs for transplant.

"The need for organ and tissue donors in Pennsylvania is great. Right now nearly 8,500 people in Pennsylvania are awaiting an organ or tissue transplant, yet only 44.9 percent of eligible residents have placed the organ donor designation on their learners' permit, driver's license or state identification card," said Howard M. Nathan, Gift of Life's (GOL) president and CEO. "When faith-based organizations across the state join together, it sends an important message about the need for donation and the overwhelming support of such a decision by all major religions."

Houses of worship interested in participating in National Donor Sabbath weekend can visit www.donors1.org or www.core.org or call 800-DONORSPA. Each site lists a number of outreach programs including It's About Life grants for donor registration awareness programs and also includes additional information to request a program speaker or to receive free materials for National Donor Sabbath.

On November 4 CORE will hold a Celebrate Life Candlelight Vigil honoring those who have experienced the wonder of the gift of life and for those who want to know more about the truth and power of donation. The event features Reverend Paul Johnson, a kidney recipient, Eighteenth Street Community Church, as well as liver recipient Dino Persio, an attorney in Ebensburg. The event will take place at the Altoona Discovery Center on Nov. 4, 2010.

Editor's Note: Representatives from CORE and GOL, donors and recipients are available for interviews upon request.

About CORE
CORE (Center for Organ Recovery and Education) is a regional not-for-profit agency that is the primary call center and intermediary for the organ recovery and allocation process that serves 155 hospitals and more than six million people in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County in New York. CORE has helped to pioneer organ procurement allocation and recovery for this region since it was founded in 1977 as the Pittsburgh Transplant Foundation. For more information visit
www.core.org.

About Gift of Life Donor Program
Since 1974, Gift of Life Program (GOL) has served as the link between donors and patients awaiting life-saving transplants in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. In that tenure, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 30,000 life-saving organ transplants and hundreds of thousand tissue transplants. For more information, visit
www.donors1.org.  

Life Begins with You Campaign
The Life Begins with You campaign is a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL), the Center for Organ & Recovery Education (CORE) -- the two organ procurement organizations serving Pennsylvania -- and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Transportation. It is funded by state residents through voluntary contributions included with driver's license renewals, vehicle registrations and state income tax filings. All contributions are used by the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund to educate residents, build awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and increase the number of people who sign up to become donors on their driver's license, learner's permit or state identification card.

One Extraordinary Way to Say Love Life.
When you choose to become an organ and tissue donor, you have the power to give the most precious gift -- life. Join the nearly four million Pennsylvanians who have said "yes" to organ and tissue donation by adding the donor designation to your driver's license, learner's permit or state identification card. Sign up to be an organ and tissue donor today by visiting
www.donatelife-pa.org because Life Begins with You.