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Dignity Health Lends its Support to Donate Life Month in April


National Event Highlights Intense Need for Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation and Celebrates Those Whose Gifts Have Given Others a Second Chance at Life

BAKERSFIELD, CA – April 3, 2017 – Mercy and Memorial Hospitals will be joining with thousands of hospitals and millions of Americans this April to celebrate National Donate Life Month, a month of local, regional and national activities designed to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to honor those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

“In California alone nearly 22,000 people are waiting to receive a lifesaving heart, liver, lung, kidney or pancreas transplant but there are simply not enough donors to meet the growing need,” said John Mastalski, Regional Director of Spiritual Care Services for Dignity Health Bakersfield. “Nationwide there are nearly 120,000 people currently on waiting lists and tragically 22 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving organ donation. But it doesn’t need to be this way.”

Mastalski points out that a single organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and improve the lives of as many as 75 more by donating their corneas and tissue. More than 35,000 life-saving transplants were performed in the U.S. in 2016, more than 6 percent higher than 2015 and a milestone that has never been reached before. Still, there is much work to be done.

National Donate Life Month recognizes the generosity of those who have saved and enhanced lives by becoming donors, while also highlighting the critical need for more people to sign up to be donors. Activities throughout the month include: 

  • Flags Across America – Mercy and Memorial Hospitals will be joining with thousands of hospitals around the country in flying a “Donate Life” flag or banner throughout the month of April. Flag ceremonies will be held on April 10 at each Dignity Health Bakersfield Campuses.
    • 10:15am – Bakersfield Memorial Hospital – Children’s Healing Garden
    • 1:00pm – Mercy Hospital Southwest – Flagpole in front of hospital
    • 2:00pm – Mercy Hospital Downtown – Flagpole in front of hospital

  • Blue and Green Day – On April 21, hospital employees will be encouraged to wear blue and green – the official colors of Donate Life – to call attention to the power of organ and tissue donation and the need for others to register to be donors. Mercy and Memorial Hospitals encourage everyone in the community to show their support by wearing blue and green that day.

  • Ice Cream Socials and Donor Registration Tables – Each hospital campus will host an Ice Cream Social sponsored by JJ’s Legacy and Donor Registration Table on April 24-26.

“Organ, eye and tissue donation is one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity,” says Mastalski. “We applaud the big-heartedness of those who save lives by becoming a donor and encourage others in our community to do the same.”

Becoming an organ or tissue donor is easy. People may register at the local DMV or online at www.donatelifecalifornia.org.

To help facilitate organ recovery and placement, Mercy and Memorial Hospitals are one of more than 200 hospitals and 11 transplant centers in Southern California who works directly with OneLegacy, the largest nonprofit organ, eye and tissue recovery organization in the world.

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