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National Donate Life Month – April 2023

National Donate Life Month takes place in April with a series of events, campaigns, and meetings, which are organized to educate the public about living donations and build a community of donors and supporters. Currently, over 100,000 people are waiting in line for organ, eye, or tissue transplants in the United States. Men and women, children and the elderly, all kinds of people need a donation to heal, to stay alive. The event was created in 2003 to encourage donor awareness and registration to help these people.

History of National Donate Life Month

The last 500 years have seen a real revolution in human health. In addition to the development of medicines and knowledge about human health, procedures such as transplanting tissues from one body to another allowed the saving of countless lives and greater longevity for people with access to these technologies.

The first case of systematic tissue transplantation between humans began in the early years of the 19th century. Human-to-human transplantation began with blood transfusion. The first successful case happened in 1818, with the procedures created by Dr. James Blundell. At the time, the difference between blood types was not known, which resulted in several failures.
In the 20th century, new scientific advances revolutionized the field of organ and tissue transplants. After the various blood types were identified and techniques to prevent coagulation were invented, ways were found to join blood vessels.

Following this, organ transplants were performed successfully. In 1905, the world’s first corneal transplant was carried out in the Czech Republic. In 1954, the first kidney transplant was followed and in 1967, by the first heart transplant.

In 1992, a national organ, eye, and tissue donation awareness community was established, namely, the Coalition on Donation, later to become Donate Life America. In 2003, the first National Donate Life Month campaign was launched. In the last 30 years alone, Donate Life America and the Donate Life Community have registered 170 million organ, eye, and tissue donors in the United States.

For National Donate Life Month 2022, Donate Life America was inspired by the important part bees play when it comes to sustaining life. Bees might be small, but they work together with dedication, collaboration, and a strong sense of community.

National Donate Life Month timeline

1666
The First Blood Transfusion

The English doctor Richard Lower performs the first blood transfusion between living beings — two dogs.

1818
A Blood Transfusion Between Humans

Procedures created by Dr. James Blundell enable blood transfusion between humans.

1905
The First Corneal Transplant

Doctor Eduard Zirm performs the first corneal transplant in history and restores sight to a man who was blinded while working.

1954
Kidney Transplants Begin

Dr. Joseph Murray performs the first kidney transplant in history in Boston. Since then, kidney donation has saved more than 400,000 lives worldwide.

2003
Raising Awareness

The first National Donate Life Month campaign is launched.

National Donate Life Month FAQs

What can be donated while alive?

During life, tissue such as blood, skin, or healthy bone cells can be donated. In addition, donations of one of the kidneys or part of the lungs, pancreas, and intestines are also possible.

What is Blue and Green Day?

It is one of the observances and celebrations that take place during National Donate Life Month. During this week, people are encouraged to wear blue and green clothing and promote awareness of organ, eye, and tissue donation.

Can we donate our eyes after death?

Eyes can only be donated after death and must be removed by a registered physician. The eyes must be removed within four to six hours of death.

How to Observe National Donate Life Month

  1. Participate in awareness campaigns

    Look for local Donate Life community representatives. They will likely promote campaigns and conversations about registering as an organ donor during April. Be present and collaborate.

  2. Dress in blue and green

    Blue and green are the official colors of Donate Life. They represent heaven and earth, and how the lives of those who are no longer with us can help the lives of those who are still here. By using these colors during National Donate Life Month you will be helping to spread the message.

  3. Register as a donor

    The main objective of National Donate Life Month is to increase the number of organ, eye, and tissue donors. Educate yourself and register. Donors can save dozens of lives.

5 Facts About Organ Donation You Need To Know

  1. The kidney was the first organ transplanted

    The first successful organ transplant was a kidney transplant in Massachusetts in 1954.

  2. Everyone should register

    What determines which organs and tissues can be donated is the condition at the time of death.

  3. The waiting list grows every nine minutes

    Every day, about 160 people join the waiting list for organ, eye, or tissue transplants.

  4. The lack of donors kills every day

    More than 6,000 people die every year while waiting in line for a compatible donor.

  5. One donor can save many lives

    Whoever registers as a donor can save and cure more than 75 people waiting for an organ, eye, or tissue donation.

Why National Donate Life Month is Important

  1. It saves lives

    The greater the registry of organ, eye, and tissue donors, the better. That’s how more lives of cancer patients or accident victims are saved.

  2. It helps to educate the public

    One of the main challenges in increasing the number of donors is public awareness. National Donate Life Month contributes to the education of people through various materials and events.

  3. It promotes a supportive and human spirit

    Registering as an organ donor is a gesture of affection and dedication to other human lives. By promoting this debate, National Donate Life Month also helps to improve social cohesion and solidarity.

National Donate Life Month dates

YearDateDay
2023April 1Saturday
2024April 1Monday
2025April 1Tuesday
2026April 1Wednesday
2027April 1Thursday
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