Organ Donation Advocacy
Working as a triage nurse for Pediatric Associates for nearly two decades would be reason enough for Billie Bergman to understand the importance of organ donation. But the reasons for her advocacy of organ donation extend beyond her professional experience: for Billie, organ donation is personal.
After a year of dialysis, Billie received a kidney transplant fifteen years ago, giving her a second chance at living an active, healthy life. “So yes. My heart is near and dear to the subject,” she says. “Working with the donor program is how I give back. But you know, it’s also just incredibly rewarding. Everyone you meet there is alive because someone else gave the ultimate gift. We were given another day to breathe because of someone else’s sacrifice, or even loss. The stories are phenomenal. But to meet people who are so genuinely thrilled just to be alive – where else can you meet people like that? It’s indescribable.”
Billie volunteers with Donate Life Northwest, formerly known at the Oregon Donor Program. According www.donatelifenw.org, The goal of all Donate Life Northwest programs is to motivate people to sign up on the donor registry. Studies show that although 90% of Americans support donation, only 40% know how to sign up on their state’s registry. Billie and other Donate Life Northwest volunteers strive to increase awareness of the need for donor organs, and the ease of registering as a donor, through their many community service programs, and by attending health fairs and county fairs. Donate Life Northwest also helps high school community service participants implement programs in their communities. The organization also participates in fundraising efforts through golf tournaments, special breakfasts, and other events.
Donate Life NW is Billie’s primary place to serve in a volunteer capacity, and her enthusiasm for the organization is contagious. She says she’d love it if the Donate Life Northwest received more volunteer support as a result of being highlighted at PANW. Billie says, “It makes a difference. It saves lives.”
Here’s what one donation can do:
- One donor can save up to 8 lives.
- More than 50 people can be helped from one tissue donor.
In 2010, there were 28,663 organ transplants. If you or anyone you know is looking for a place to support, consider Donate Life Northwest. They give the gift of hope and life to many.www.donatelifenw.org