Celebrated annually every April, National Donate Life Month is a time when we raise public awareness that there is a critical need for more organ, eye and tissue donors and an increasing gap between the number of people whose lives depend upon receiving an organ transplant and the number of available organs. More than 121,000 men, women and children are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Thousands more need tissue and corneal transplants each year.
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National Donate Life Month (NDLM) was instituted by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations in 2003 with the support of then Secretary of HHS, Tommy Thompson. Celebrated in April each year, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.
More than 55 years after the first successful organ transplant in December of 1954, thousands of individuals have recognized the importance of giving the gift of life to others. In 2013, over 14,000 people were organ donors. Thanks to them, and thousands of others before them, more than half a million people in the United States received transplants.
Every day in April people across the U.S. make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye, tissue, marrow, and blood donors and to encourage more Americans to follow their fine example. Several activities are organized during this month to call attention to the need for organ and tissue donation, the impact donation has in saving lives of other individuals and the importance of people making their wishes known to their family in the event of an untimely death.