6th annual Linking Hands for Life event to be held April 15 | Community Spirit
Information provided by Mid-South Transplant Foundation
MEMPHIS, Tennessee – March 15, 2012 - Mid-South Transplant Foundation (MSTF) celebrates April as National Donate Life Month (NDLM). The month-long celebration honors the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families and commemorates all transplant recipients in the United States. Activities this month will focus on supporting Donate Life America’s new campaign, 20 Million in 2012, which looks to add 20 million new organ, eye, and tissue donors to state donor registries in 2012. As part of this new donor registration campaign, MSTF will be hosting their 6th Annual Linking Hands for Life event on Sunday April 15, 2012 at 2pm to 5pm. This family friendly celebration of life will be held at Memphis’ Levitt Shell inside Overton Park, and will include kid friendly games, free gifts and an awesome free cultural arts fest featuring International recording artist Kym Franklin, Memphis’ own actress/singer, Florence ‘Flo’ Roach, who recently had a role in the movie The Help, singer/songwriter, John Kilzer, and student performers from both the Visible Music College and M.A.S.E. (Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering) will be a part of the line-up. This local event, which was created by MSTF Community Development Coordinator, Erskine Gillespie, will be celebrated as a nationwide event this year – linking cities from coast to coast. For more information about Donate Life America, Mid-South Transplant, Linking Hands for Life and to register as a donor, and/or participate in Linking Hands for Life visit www.donatelife.net., or www.midsouthtransplant.org and click on the Linking Hands for Life icon.
MSTF’s goal is to have an attendance of 3000 or more supporters at this year’s Linking Hands for Life event. We are seeking attendance from donor and recipient families, friends, church congregations, civic groups, corporate supporters and all Mid-Southerners to come out and enjoy the free cultural arts fest, free gifts, the dancing in the park and all the rest. Then we shall all link hands along Poplar Ave. to display a symbolic chain representing the cycle of life that occurs as a result of donation (beginning at the corner of Kenilworth Pl. and proceeding eastward down Poplar), as we remember and celebrate those heroes, who have passed on the wonderful gift of life through organ and tissue donation. A memorial (biodegradable) balloon release in honor of these heroes, which will be led by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, will conclude the event as the symbolic chain is formed. (This portion of the event will occur between 4pm – 5pm)
NDLM, which was originally a weeklong observance, was changed by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson who officially sanctioned the extension of the celebration in 2003 to include the entire month of April. As part of our celebration, MSTF acknowledges the importance of educating communities nationwide about the renewing power of donation and encouraging them to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.
While 2011 marked the achievement of 100 million designated organ, eye, and tissue donors in state donor registries, the need for organ, eye, and tissue transplants is steadily increasing. Adding more donors to every state registry is critical and that is why this past January, Donate Life America launched its bold new campaign 20 Million in 2012 in order to mobilize the masses to register as donors this year. As a part of the campaign, Donate Life America will host four national events including Linkjng Hands for Life. MSTF is proud to be a part of this initiative and encourage the community to support Linking Hands for Life, on April 15th at 2pm at the Levitt Shell inside Memphis’ Overton Park.
"We need to spread the word that donation changes lives every day; however, many more lives need to be affected especially in the Mid-South. There are currently 113,262 on the national waiting list waiting for a life-saving transplant. Of
that total, more than 3,000 live in the Mid-South. Nationally 35% of the patients who are in need of a kidney transplant are African American,but it is even more staggering locally as 82% of the patients on the local kidney waiting list are African American" said Erskine Gillespie, Community Development Coordinator for Mid-South Transplant Foundation. (African Americans are at a greater risk for diseases causing kidney failuere)."These remarkable changes from poor quality of life (in some cases near death), to restored health are made possible because someone made the decision to donate. We all have the power to donate life. I urge everyone to register as organ and tissue donors today".
To register as a donor or for more information please visit www.midsouthtransplant.org or call 901-328-4438.