|Connecticut Celebrates National Donate Life Month At The Capitol With Elected Officials|
|Clubs & Organizations|
|Submitted by Kari Mull, Donate Life Connecticut, on 2010-04-07.|
The yearly event is held to raise Connecticut's awareness and understanding about organ and tissue donation. The event also celebrates the winners of the organization's 20th High School Poster Contest.
Representative Heinrich addressed the standing-room-only group of over 250 spectators: "Over 1,150 Connecticut residents are waiting for a life saving organ transplant and over 106,000 are waiting around the country. One organ and tissue donor can save 75 people." Heinrich went on to state that Connecticut residents can register their wishes to become organ donors when visiting the state DMV or by visiting www.donatelifect.org.
Rep. Sayers recalled her work five years ago as the house chair of the public health committee working with Donate Life Connecticut and fellow legislators to improve and expand the means Connecticut residents could register as a donor. "Together, we made Connecticut the first New England state to have the ability to register as donors both at the Department of Motor Vehicles and through a secure online registry," Sayers said.
Because of the state's efforts, over 1 million Connecticut residents have registered as donors, but we can do more she continues.
The event audience, packed with supportive legislators, mayors and first selectmen, was moved by the story of Joe and Jean Panza of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Jean shared the story of her lifesaving heart transplant nearly two years ago. The Panzas have met and formed a caring relationship with Jean's heart donor's family.
Together, they have since written a book about their transplantation experience titled "Heartfelt."
The Panzas are donating all proceeds from their book sales to raising donation awareness through Donate Life Connecticut.
There was also an awards ceremony for the 20th Annual High School Poster Art Contest, recognizing over 32 participating schools and over 400 submissions from around the state. The first place winner was Michelle Hoang from North Haven High School.