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#In1Word: Why Are We Organ Donors?

Every April for National Donate Life Month, The Living Legacy Foundation joins with Donate Life Maryland, hospitals, MVAs, donor families, recipients, and donation advocates to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation and celebrate generous donors.

As April approached this year, it got us at The LLF thinking: WHY do we do what we do? WHY do we believe so passionately in our mission of saving and enhancing lives through donation? Ultimately, WHY did we say “Yes” to registering as an organ and tissue donor?

We believe that the decision to donate life is an important, impactful, and unique decision for all of us. For some of us, that “yes” is to give hope to a loved one waiting on the transplant list. For some, it is in honor of a family member who gave the gift of life as a donor. And for many more, it is simply about exemplifying the values that we believe in; generosity, compassion, community, etc.

Our #In1Word campaign for Donate Life Month explores these unique reasons for supporting donation. Read on below as we share a few of our favorite reasons. What’s your reason for supporting donation? Visit to print and share your #In1Word sign. Not registered? You can save lives #In1Word: “Yes!” Visit your local MVA or sign up at

Michelle Bowers – Family

“The immediate word that came to mind when asked “Why am I a Donor?” is “Family.” We as a society share a kinship that goes beyond the biological sense of the word. Family has many definitions to me. Members of a family include kinship of those extended in my community, those I have never met, but share a bond of connection to help another in need. Being a donor is part of the continuum of life.”

Ieesha Johnson – Dreamer

“My #In1Word is “Dreamer.” Deciding to be an organ donor is a way for me to paint the canvas of my life and for someone else. It’s my decision to be invested in creative dreaming for another individual who may stop dreaming for themselves.”

Dan Ricks and Mary Ballard – Teamwork

“Organ donation isn’t about an individual, it’s about a team! This team starts with YOU designating yourself! And knowing that you’re part of a team that has the ability to save multiple lives. There are no words that can express how awesome that is.”

Ann Bromery – Exponential

“As I hear stories about how one donor can save up to 8 lives and enhance more than 50 people with their gift, I think of how exponentially (expanding at a rapid rate) that one donor affects an entire community. Each recipient has a community they belong to…school, church, work, friends, volunteering, etc. So the life that is given back to the recipient is truly felt by an entire community…and when there are multiple recipients, then there are multiple communities that are affected by just ONE donor.”

Kenny Knight – Courage

“Choosing to give the gift of life takes courage; courage to designate yourself and the courage to make your wishes known to your loved ones. Every organ donor is a hero and that takes courage.”

Kara Petrosky – Humanity

“Humanity to me means treating people in a kind and selfless way. What is more selfless than organ and tissue donation?!”

Ralph Davis – Transformational

“Organ donation is transformational for both the donor families and the recipient. The act of donation can help transform some of the grief into something positive by knowing that something good has happened as a result of a truly sad death. There is a sense that their loved one lives on.

For the recipient, transformation occurs on multiple levels. The most obvious is a change from being gravely ill to once again being healthy… moving from a state of despair and uncertainty to one of hope for the future. Beyond that, recipients experience a shift of perspective. You reevaluate what is important in life. Things that seemed important or difficult before transplant seem less so after transplant.  You change perspective, refocus your life and activities on what is truly important. The word “impossible” becomes obsolete!”

Erin Gillard – Unity

“Organ and tissue donation is such a profound way to recognize our connection as human beings. To be a donor is to recognize that alleviating another person’s suffering, even if that person is a stranger, is the right thing to do. Donation brings people together through an act of bravery and compassion and connects not just the donor and the recipients, but their friends and loved ones, as well as everyone who hears the story of such kindness and generosity.”

Rick Kolovich – Ko’Den

“Ko’Den loosely translated from Japanese to English means “condolence gift.” Traditionally, the word relates to providing the family a “gift of food or flowers” who has recently had someone in their household pass away. I believe that the gift can flow in both directions, that a family who donates a loved one’s organs and tissues are providing Ko’Den to recipients. In essence, a gift of life.”

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