PUBLISHED: 4:33 PM on Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Transplant recipients inspire Alaskan public to donate life
Donate Life America is releasing a new series of public service announcements featuring the real life stories of transplant recipients from a diverse cross section of the population.

The ads are aimed at educating the public about the benefits of donation and transplantation and inspire them to visit to learn the essential steps to become organ, eye and tissue donors.

The television, radio and web campaign, featuring kidney, heart, liver, cornea and tissue recipients, allows the public to witness the life-saving effects of transplantation.

In Alaska, approximately 160 people are waiting for organ transplants are more are in need of tissue.

Nearly 100,000 people in this country are on the waiting list for an organ transplant and hundreds of thousands more are in need of tissue to restore their mobility and sight.

"When my daughter received her transplant at 21U2 the doctor told me she would not have lived one more day without a transplant," said Nancy Santiago, mother of 11-year-old heart recipient Priscilla.

"Now, after her transplant, there's nothing she can't do."

Every year there are more than 20,000 organs and more than 1,000,000 tissues and corneas transplanted in the United States, yet 18 people die each day waiting for a transplant that does not come in time.

"Every single person in this campaign represents a life that would have been lost or diminished without a transplant," said Michael French, public education coordinator for Life Alaska Donor Services.

"There is no one that can express the power of donation and transplantation better than those who have experienced it. Their inspirational testimony will move the public to commit today to organ, eye, and tissue donation."

National research shows that although 98 percent of Americans support donation, only 30 percent know the essential steps to take to become a donor. Others allow misconceptions, fears, and misinformation to prevent them from making a decision. The public can get answers to their questions as well as guidelines for how to become a donor in their state by visiting or

"One donor can save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people," French said. "This campaign is a great example of how much power each individual can have simply by making and acting on the decision to Donate Life."

Life Alaska Donor Services is the not-for-profit tissue donation organization serving the state of Alaska, offering the option of donation to families who have suffered a death in Alaska. Life Alaska was established in 1992 as the state's tissue donation program. Since that time, Life Alaska has had many donors and has supplied thousands of tissues for transplantation to Alaskan patients. Life Alaska works in partnership with LifeCenter Northwest, the federally designated

Organ Procurement Organization in Seattle, to provide education on organ and tissue donation throughout the state. Tissue donations have taken place across the state, from Ketchikan to Barrow.