LIFEGIFT EDUCATES FAITH COMMUNITIES ABOUT THE GIFT THAT SAVES LIVES
Source: Cypress Times
National Donor Sabbath brings messages of organ and tissue donation to houses of worship
HOUSTON, TX -- National Donor Sabbath (NDS) is a nationwide observance celebrated annually two weekends before Thanksgiving (Nov. 12-14) to educate faith-based communities about the need for organ, eye and tissue donors. Donation is viewed by many religions as a compassionate and generous gift. Although the need is ongoing, donation and transplant professionals set aside a weekend every year during the Thanksgiving season to bring this national healthcare crisis to the attention of houses of worship across the country.
“Faith and hope are integral to the donation and transplant process,” said Pastor Lamon Atkins, senior pastor at Progressive New Hope Baptist Church and liaison for the LifeGift African- American Clergy Program. “From those who await organ and tissue transplants to return to their lives and families, to registered donors who believe one day they will make a lifesaving difference, to donor families who carry the hope that their loved ones gave life to others, all have faith in something greater than themselves.”
Donation and transplant professionals encourage this collaborative effort with faith communities from all religions to educate their congregations on the lifesaving and enhancing gifts of organ and tissue donation. Faith leaders are often sought for help during life and death issues because they comfort families during the most challenging and difficult time any family will face the loss of a loved one. This is why NDS plays an essential part in the donation process.
“Faith leaders can be attitudinal change agents, empowering their congregations to be compassionate to others so that more lives can be saved by dedicating a sermon to organ and tissue donation and encouraging their congregants to register,” said Atkins.
There are many myths surrounding organ and tissue donation. One of the most common is:
· “My religion does not support organ and tissue donation.” The truth is that organ and tissue donation is accepted by all U.S. recognized religions as long as it does not impede the life or hasten the death of the donor. It is considered to be the greatest charitable act of love.
Clergy have the unique ability to create awareness in sermons, lectures and in pastoral counseling, preparing families in advance.
While there is an increase in the number of registrants on the Donate Life Texas Registry, there are more than 10,000 people waiting in Texas. Everyday 18 people die waiting for a second chance at life.
Registering to become an organ, eye and tissue donor is simple. It’s free and it takes less than five minutes. There are three ways to register:
- Electronically via www.donatelifetexas.org.
- In person at the Department of Public Safety Office (DPS).
- Online with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when renewing vehicle registration.
For more information on how to register as an organ and tissue donor in the official state registry, visit www.donatelifetexas.org or www.lifegift.org.