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Gift of Life Celebrates 35th Anniversary as National Leader in Organ Donation
Date:1/15/2009

1,152 gifts of life were transplanted because of the generosity of donors and their families

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Paulie Penkala might have been the toughest kid on the football field, but he spent his life helping others and had aspirations of continuing that after he graduated high school. For a 16-year-old from Hazleton, Pa. to be contemplating missionary work or the Peace Corps is certainly unique. But as his father Paul Sr. talked about it, his son's aspirations seemed like the perfect fit.

"I always used to tell him, 'you're a catalyst - when you're around, good things happen,'" the father remembered. "He was quiet, but he always had a smile, and always was there to help. He liked to right the wrongs."

That is why Paulie's father knew his son would have been proud to be an organ and tissue donor and have the ability to save lives. Paulie passed away on October 3, 2008 following a car accident, and the generosity he and his family exhibited - including mother Diane and sisters Nicole, Rhiannon and Lucy - helped save five lives and provide hope to others. Knowing that Paulie was able to help others has comforted his family and allowed them to find some meaning in his death. It also reminds them of Paulie's focus on doing the right thing and thinking of others.

As with every transplant done in this region, it is only possible through the generosity of the donors and their families, who continue to make the decision to save or enhance lives through organ and tissue donation.

And in 2008, they did so in record numbers. In 2008, the gifts given by 428 generous organ donors allowed Gift of Life Donor Program - the organ procurement organization for eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware - to coordinate a total of 1,152 life-saving transplants over the course of the year. Gift of Life and its hospital partners lead the U.S.
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SOURCE Gift of Life Donor Program
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