(New Jersey) - Observed annually in November, National Donor Sabbath is a time focused on educating faith-based communities about the critical need for organ and tissue donation, and the vital role faith plays in making the decision to register as a donor.
Currently, there are 110,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a life-saving transplant. One organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of over 75 people.
“Most major religions in the United States support organ and tissue donation as an unselfish act of charity,” said Alyssa D’Addio, Director, Hospital and Community Services, NJ Sharing Network, the non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue in the state. “We are extremely fortunate to have strong partners in our local faith-based communities who support our life-saving mission by discussing organ and tissue donation with their congregations and by sharing their inspirational stories and unique perspectives about donation.”
Faith leaders and devout followers of various religions from throughout the state have voiced their support for organ and tissue donation. The following are just a few examples:
·Fr. Edmund Luciano, Parish of the Visitation of New Brunswick, and heart transplant recipient – “The Catholic Church is very much in support of organ and tissue donation. We encourage our families to be aware of this. It is a testament of love for our neighbor.”
·Rabbi Ari Lucas, Congregation Agudath Israel (CAI) of Caldwell – “Organ and tissue donation is supported by all major streams of Judaism. Many in our synagogue community have been profoundly affected by the generosity of people who gave and they are the greatest preachers of the importance of this because they are living testaments to the value of organ and tissue donation.”
·Rev. Dr. Vanessa M. Brown, Rivers of Living Water Ministries UCC of Newark – “Life is one of the greatest gifts that you can give, and it is a gift that can be shared. It is part of us doing good in this world by saving lives.”
·Pastor Hilton Rawls, Jr., Greater Grace Church in East Orange, and kidney transplant recipient - “One of the basic tenets of faith is giving and receiving. Whether you are a person of faith or not, love is something with which we all identify. What happens within the walls of NJ Sharing Network can be recognized as love.”
·Rajesh Karnani, son of a tissue donor and member of the Hindu community in Paramus – “My father was passionate about his family, his faith and his support for organ and tissue donation. He would often speak with our Hindu religious leaders to discuss the virtues of organ donation, and they recognized it as the best gift anyone could give to another person.”
·Rev. Dr. Marilyn M. Harris, First Baptist Church of Teaneck – “We share information with our community about organ and tissue donation to show them what love looks like. Many in our faith community have had life-saving transplants and they show others what the gift of life looks like.”
Online activities and in-person events will be held throughout the month at churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship. The following details ways to get involved in supporting NJ Sharing Network’s National Donor Sabbath activities:
·On Thursday, November 11, at 5:30 pm, tune in to NJ Sharing Network’s Facebook or YouTube channel to watch Faith and the Miracle of Organ and Tissue Donation, an entertaining, informative event where faith leaders and those active in their faith community will discuss organ and tissue donation, share inspirational stories and unique perspectives and answer questions.
·Visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org/Donor-Sabbath for shareable resources including flyers, videos and social media graphics available.
·Distribute National Donor Sabbath flyers and brochures in your place of worship. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request printed materials.
In New Jersey, one person dies every three days waiting for an organ transplant. However, the generosity of those in the Garden State is providing hope for the future. New Jersey’s organ and tissue donor registrations continue to rise thanks to strong community education and outreach efforts like National Donor Sabbath. It is also now easier than ever for New Jerseyans to register in any of the following options:
·Online at www.NJSharingNetwork.org
·Through the iPhone Health App
·In person at your local Motor Vehicle Agency
About NJ Sharing Network
NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated non-profit organization responsible for recovering organs and tissue for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. With headquarters in New Providence, NJ, the organization is part of the national recovery system, serving the 110,000 people on the national waiting list. NJ Sharing Network was recently selected by NJBiz as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for the fourth consecutive year. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.