Organized in 1997, National Donor Sabbath is a multi-faith initiative celebrated annually in November to help all denominations educate and inform their local communities on the life-saving gifts of organ and tissue donation. At Taylor’s Gift, we are proud to support National Donor Sabbath as a unified effort, joining together with one another to share the importance and impact that organ donation (including cornea and tissue donation) has on countless lives across the country.
What is National Donor Sabbath?
National Donor Sabbath is part of an initiative launched by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in 1997. Observed on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday two weekends before Thanksgiving, the national designation consolidated the multiple individual donation efforts of many faith communities into a single, collaborative cross-country effort for all faiths who wish to participate. The three day observance seeks to include worship days of major religions practiced across the United States.
Some religions leave it up to the individual and family make their own choice. However, many religions fully support organ donation, seeing it as a priceless gift and compassionate act of generosity - we see it as a way to Outlive Yourself.
When facing life and death matters, families often turn to their faith leaders. Outside of family, many people rely on the support of their religious leader . Having a faith community to discuss the importance of organ donation is vital. During Donor Sabbath services in November, religious leaders and faith communities are encouraged to include discussion about organ donation, while encouraging listeners to register. Oftentimes, with a transplant recipient sharing a personal story of receiving a second chance at life, the impact is even greater, putting faces to organ donation in everyday life.
Why is it important?
Every day, an average of 18 people die waiting on a transplant. That means 18 families lose a mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent or friend. We have the ability to change that by ensuring more names are in the organ donor database, and more families are aware of one another’s decisions to donate.
When asked, most people support organ donation, but few know how to actually register or believe that they’re registered when they’re not! It’s easy to register: just go to TaylorsGift.org/register. Additionally, some are just uninformed (or misinformed) about their faith’s stance on being an organ donor or myths and facts. It is important to have a conversation with your family about your wishes now.
The Need for Donors
Awareness of the need for more organ donors increases each year, but so does the actual need for donated organs. More than 120,000 people are on the organ transplant waiting list, despite the fact that more than 14,000 donors made almost 28,000 transplants possible in 2012.
Each year, thousands of Americans need corneal or other tissue transplants, and an average of 3,000 individuals at any given time are searching for an unrelated blood stem cell donor. Those who donate organs, tissue, and blood stem cells restore hope and share gifts beyond measure. Transplantation can save lives. If generous individuals and families say yes to donation and register as donors, miracles can happen.
Faith communities and individuals wishing to plan National Donor Sabbath events should contact their local organ procurement organization or Donate Life America chapter.
Support National Donor Sabbath in your community!
Check with your house of worship and encourage them to participate, if they're not already. Then, mark your calendars to help organize and promote 2014 National Donor Sabbath!
National Donor Sabbath Materials are available and help make it easy for faith leaders and communities to educate their congregations about organ donation.