Turning tragedy into renewed life

Every April, the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life (TFL) and Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) celebrate National Donate Life Month. 

This a time to focus national and local attention on every individual’s power to make life possible by registering his or her decision to be a potential organ and tissue donor, and learning more about living donation.

The Trust for Life and KODA partner with Donate Life America each year during National Donate Life Month (NDLM).

To help illustrate the message of donation, Donate Life America creates unique artwork for each National Donate Life Month. The 2018 National Donate Life Month art was inspired by the image of a rainbow, and Maya Angelou’s quote, “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”

Donate Life America chose this year’s artwork because often following a storm, the presence of a rainbow provides optimism and motivates us to endure through dark times. Organ and tissue donation is the bridge of comfort and hope between one family’s mourning and another’s healing — turning tragedy into renewed life.

The Donate Life rainbow in the National Donate Life Month artwork rises from stormy clouds, recognizing that it takes both rain and light to create the gift of a rainbow.

Maya Angelou’s message applies to people of all backgrounds and experiences, according to Lauren Salyer, community and hospital outreach coordinator.  “By registering to be a donor and considering living donation, you can change one ray of light into a spectrum of healing and compassion.” 

Salyer said that one of the ways her organizations will celebrate locally is with 51 billboards across Kentucky and adjoining counties.  “We are thrilled to be able to feature donor families and recipients on our billboards during National Donate Life Month 2018” she said. “From Kendall in Carroll County, who had a heart transplant as a baby and is now in college, to LaVerne in Pike County who is a kidney recipient, now enjoying her children and grandchildren; the faces on the billboards embody hope and a second chance at life.” 

One can register the decision to be a potential organ and tissue donor by going online at donatelifeky.org or organdonor.gov (and choosing one’s state).

Also, registration is possible at RegisterMe.org (or in the Medical ID tab of the iPhone Health app). To learn more about being a living donor, visit DonateLife.net.

Currently, 56 percent of U.S. adults have registered their decision to make LIFE possible and be organ and tissue donors if that is possible when they die.  Yet the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the number of organs donated. Currently, 116,000 people are waiting for a transplant and a second chance at life. On average, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time—that is almost one person dying every hour. You can help by registering your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, and learning more about living donation.

— Submitted for publication by Donate Life Kentucky