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Don't Wait - Do It Now!(TM) Become an Organ and Tissue Donor

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The need for organ and tissue donation increases daily. In Ohio, nearly 3,000 people are waiting for a life saving organ transplant and many more are in need of tissue. Four Ohioans die each week waiting for a transplant. What better gift to give during this holiday season than the opportunity to save a life by becoming an organ and tissue donor.

Efforts from last year's Do It Now!(TM) College Challenge added 125,000 new organ and tissue donors to the Ohio Donor Registry. Yet while the campaign was a success, there is still a need for more registered donors. For the second year, Ohio colleges and universities are spearheading a statewide effort to register organ and tissue donors throughout the state by encouraging Ohioans to Do It Now!

"While the Do It Now! College Challenge was a success last year, the need is still urgent. Less than one percent of all hospital deaths meet the criteria for organ donation, just one in a hundred," said Chuck Heald, team leader, Donate Life Ohio. "That is why it is so critical for individuals to make a donation decision in advance. One organ and tissue donor has the power to save the lives of up to eight people and heal up to 50 more through tissue donation. They just need to do it now and register."

Funded by the Second Chance Trust Fund, Donate Life Ohio's affiliated organ, tissue and eye recovery agencies took on the challenge to increase the number of new organ and tissue donor designations for a second year. The nationally directed goal from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has challenged Ohio to add 240,000 new designations by June 30, 2009.

Sixteen colleges and universities throughout Ohio are participating in this year's college challenge, a marketing and public relations competition to see whose communications campaign can register the most donors. They will use a number of strategies including social networking, viral marketing, public relations, guerilla marketing, alumni outreach and minority outreach. Each school has a very specific target for the number of new registrants they are expected to sign up in their communities.

Ohio colleges are critical partners in helping achieve this challenging but worthwhile goal, which is aimed at the millions of Ohioans who are eligible, but not currently registered.

"In addition to raising awareness and educating the public, the students are challenged with delivering actual results. What better way for the students to gain real-world experience on how to implement a classic public relations and marketing campaign. At the same time, we get the benefit of their creative minds and youthful energy," says Heald.

Schools participating in the Do It Now! College Challenge include Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, Lourdes College, Marietta College, Miami University, Ohio Northern University, Ohio University, Otterbein College, Shawnee State University, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, University of Toledo, Xavier University and Wright State University.

Individuals wanting to register to be an organ, tissue and eye donor can do so online at, by filling out a donor registration form, or by saying yes to donation when visiting their local bureau of motor vehicles (BMV).

About Donate Life Ohio

Donate Life Ohio is a coalition of the state's organ, tissue and eye recovery agencies dedicated to educating Ohioans about the need for organ and tissue donation. In this effort to increase donor registrations they are joined by the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program.

About Second Chance Trust Fund

Through contributions made by individuals at Ohio's BMVs while renewing their Ohio driver's licenses, the Second Chance Trust Fund finances educational and action-oriented campaigns like the Do It Now! program. A $1 contribution supports donation education in Ohio and gives hope to thousands of Ohioans waiting for a second chance through organ, tissue and eye donation.

    Organ Procurement Organizations
    Life Connection of Ohio, Dayton - Cathi Arends, Community Relations
     Manager            937.223.8223 office / 937.657.5596 cell
    Life Connection of Ohio, Toledo - Nancy Ellis, Community Relations Manager
                        419.893.1618 office / 419.346.6141 cell
    Lifeline of Ohio, Columbus - Marilyn Pongonis, Director of Communications
                        614.384.7330 office / 614.580.0393 cell
    LifeCenter Organ Donor Network, Cincinnati - Andi Johnson, Public Affairs
     Manager            513.558.5555 office / 513.315.1785 cell
    LifeBanc, Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown - Chuck Heald, Media & Community
     Affairs Manager    216.283.7057 office / 216.956.1478 cell

    Laura Waltz
    R/P Marketing Public Relations
    Phone:  (419) 241-2221

SOURCE Donate Life Ohio
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