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Annual HOSA Challenge sets records in effort to help patients on organ transplant waiting list

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Future Health Professionals rally to increase number of Michigan organ and tissue donors

 

There are nearly 1,000 new organ and tissue donors registered in Michigan, thanks to the efforts of students across the state.

The students, from Michigan Health Occupation Students of America – known as HOSA-Future Health Professionals – have just completed their fourth statewide competition to register new organ and tissue donors and inspire support for organ and tissue donation.

This year, 25 different schools took part in the competition to save and heal lives, coordinating nearly 3,500 activities to educate the community about organ, eye and tissue. A total of 964 new donors were registered.

“Once again, Michigan HOSA students have gone above and beyond to help Michiganders waiting for organ, eye and tissue transplants,” said Alison Gillum, Community Relations Coordinator at Gift of Life Michigan. “They did an amazing job.”

Schools are awarded points for each new registration and for the activities they coordinate to educate their peers about organ and tissue donation. The winners of each category set new records this year. Anchor Bay High School HOSA registered the most new donors, with 335. West Bloomfield High School HOSA earned the most activity points, with 7,844.

Tristan Johnson, a high school student from Kalamazoo who received a kidney transplant in 2019, said he appreciates the effort to educate his peers about the need for additional organ and tissue donors.

“A lot of people don’t know about organ donation unless it affects them directly,” he said. “The more people are aware of it, the more people will want to register – or be aware of the signs before they get too bad.”

There are nearly 107,000 people waiting for a new organ in the U.S., including 2,478 in Michigan. A single donor can save up to eight lives and help as many as 75 more through donated tissue.

“This has been an important partnership for us,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “I am impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and creativity these students show in educating the community and advocating for organ and tissue donation. Each new registration brings new hope to the many people waiting for a life-saving transplant.”

Since the Challenge’s inception in 2019, Michigan HOSA students have registered more than 3,100 donors. To see a complete list of schools that participated this year, visit www.golm.org/hosa.

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