In the state of Louisiana, there are currently 1,800 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. That is 1,800 people waiting for a kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, lung, or intestine that would improve their quality of life as well as the length.
When the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency approached Denise Mitchell, a professor in the Department of Nursing, and asked her to begin a student organization promoting organ donation, she, as well as Carly Joffrion and Katelyn Laskey, accepted the challenge.
The Club, Colonels for Life, held its first meeting Monday, September 27. Mitchell says that the club hopes to reach 25 members by the end of the Fall semester. She encourages the students to join and get involved in the Community Awareness Campaign either on the Nicholls campus or one for the surrounding area.
In addition to those who join the Colonels for Life, Mitchell states that, "students are encouraged not only to participate in the academic part of their programs but also at the community level through service learning. This club will work closely with students enrolled in my Nursing 352 Death and Dying."
As a new club on campus, Colonels for Life's mission is to "build a college community that will strengthen and support a lifelong commitment to educating, accepting, and supporting a society that accepts organ donation." They hope to accomplish this goal by "informing and encouraging NSU students and community members to register as organ, eye and tissue donors, and foster family acceptance of the process," says Mitchell.
Colonels for Life plans to inform students about where and how to register to be a donor, "students will learn that they can make their wishes known by registering as an organ donor at the DMV or through the national organ donor registry," says Mitchell. In addition, by increasing community awareness, "loss of human life or function due to the lack of donor organs or tissues will diminish," said Mitchell, "and promote a society that accepts and supports donation as natural and beneficial."
Louisiana has over 1.8 million registered organ donors. These people have volunteered their organs, eyes, and tissues. While this number seems large, there are still 1,800 people waiting for an organ. The state hopes to add another 50 thousand donors by next July, according to LOPA.org. Members of Colonels for Life plan on participating a significant amount in reaching Louisiana's goal. They will be working with LOPA, Donate Life Louisiana, and Legacy to spread the message.
There will be a booth on Family Day to advertise for the club and their mission and they are also scheduled to have a community event in November.