Donor Network West raises awareness of organ and tissue donation with key Reno and Sparks leaders offering their support
Donor Network West, the federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) with headquarters in northern Nevada and northern California, hosted an outdoor event Thursday, May 27, 2021 at Reno City Plaza to promote the Transplant Games of America. The event was held to raise awareness about the importance of eye, organ and tissue donation in the state. Transplant recipients, donor families, living donors and members of the northern Nevada community came to sign the official Transplant Games of America flag, which is making its way across the country before it makes an appearance at the Transplant Games Opening Ceremony this summer.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve spoke at the event sharing her personal experience with organ donation for transplantation and about the importance of creating community awareness and support for organ, eye and tissue donation. In her remarks, Mayor Schieve lauded Donor Network West for their tireless efforts in the northern Nevada community.
“I love this event and it means a lot to me,” Mayor Schieve said. “This is an incredible message of organ and tissue donation. It is so critical. You’re (Donor Network West) is always staying out in the community really messaging how important organ, eye and tissue donation is. It’s really hard to make that donation. I was in that position this year and it was very hard because you are grieving. Talk to your friends and family about your wishes about donation. It’s such a critical part to make sure we have enough organ and tissue donation in this community.”
Dedicated to helping save and heal lives through organ and tissue donation for transplantation, Donor Network West has helped facilitate the recovery of every lifesaving organ in northern Nevada for the past 30 years.
“We work throughout the northern Nevada community to save and heal lives through organ and tissue donation from generous deceased donors on behalf of more than 600 Nevadans who await a lifesaving gift,” Janice Whaley, president and CEO of Donor Network West, said. “In partnership with the northern Nevada community, Donor Network West has been able to help give many Nevadans a second chance at life. So we are proud to be able to bring the official Transplant Games of America flag to northern Nevada to celebrate the success of transplantation and to serve as a vital reminder of the need for more people to register as organ donors. Together, we can help save and heal more lives. ”
Donate Life Ambassador, Tracey Copeland, a liver recipient who has competed in the Transplant Games of America, also spoke and recognized her personal hero and donor, Terry Lee Snow during the event. Additionally, she shared her story of the day her liver unexplainably stopped working.
“Over the course of only days, my health went from elite to near death,” Copeland said. “If it had not been for Terry’s gift of his liver just in time, I would have died. Since my transplant 23 years ago, I have strived to embody what the Transplant Games of America is all about – showing that my transplant was truly a second chance at life.”
Every two years the Transplant Life Foundation hosts the Transplant Games of America where thousands of transplant recipients, living donors, donor families, people on the waiting list, caregivers, transplant professionals and supporters gather for the world’s largest celebration of life. This week-long celebration is made up of 20 athletic and recreational competitions. It provides transplant recipients with the opportunity to show their second chance at a healthy and productive life all whilst meeting others who share similar stories.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Donate Life Transplant Games were rescheduled for July 16-21, 2021. This year’s reformatted games will “Honor the Journey… Coast to Coast.”
There are more than 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant across the United States. One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and heal another 75 others through tissue donation. Anyone can register to be an organ donor. To learn more and to register as an organ donor, visit DonorNetworkWest.org.