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August 5, 2009

Re:  Organ Donation and Your Community

Dear Mayor:

In 2008, the New Jersey League of Municipalities (NJLM) appointed me as liaison to the New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, Inc., the federally designated organ procurement organization that serves most of New Jersey. 

There are more than 4,400 people who are waiting for the gift of life in New Jersey. There are several programs, authorized by the NJ Hero Act, that will raise awareness and improve the administration of the process of donation.  NJLM is doing its part by including a session at the annual conference on Thursday, November 19 at 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Organ Donation and Your Community – Saving Lives Through Leadership.  I encourage you to be at this session, which will include Mayor Torres of Paterson, Mayor Healy of Jersey City, as well as other leaders in our state. 

Our work in advocating donation continues to be challenged by the reality of an increasing demand for life saving organs. The opportunity exists for you, as a leader in your community, to assist in the important work of saving lives.  NJLM invites you to engage with NJ Sharing Network and your constituents to encourage donor registration and education. 

There are many ways you can make a difference in the lives of those waiting for a life saving organ.  NJ Sharing Network stands ready to assist you in implementing the following opportunities in your area. 

  • In advance of the NJLM Annual Conference presentation, we aim to increase recognition of organ and tissue donation issues and activities.   Possibilities include:   editorials, mayor letters and email blasts, and speaking opportunities at meetings with local officials either through the county leagues or before church groups, rotary clubs, Knights of Columbus groups, and others.
  • Hero Act legislation requires New Jersey high schools to include organ and tissue donation education in the curriculum.  As a leader in your community, you can bridge relationships between superintendents of schools and NJ Sharing Network.  You can facilitate these relationships by showing public support of this legislation.  Support may be communicated through media interviews or other public relations initiatives that highlight efforts in your high schools.
  • Hold donor registration drives in municipal office buildings for employees that include the distribution of promotional items and literature.
  • What can you do today?  You can introduce and pass a proclamation supporting organ and tissue donation in the state of New Jersey.  A draft proclamation is included with this communication and is ready for your action.

As a reminder – NJ Sharing Network staff and volunteers stand ready to assist in these and other creative ways of engaging constituents in making the decision to register to be an organ and tissue donor. 

NJ Sharing Network is able to serve your communities through participation in many forms of outreach, including through high schools and institutions of higher learning in your municipality.  Please direct requests and questions by contacting Melissa Honohan, Director of External Relations at 973-924-2031 or mhonohan@sharenj.org.

Thank you on behalf of the thousands who wait for a life saving gift and in honor of those donors and donor families who are true heroes.

Sincerely,

Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs
Member League Executive Board
NJLM Liaison to NJ Organ and Tissue Sharing Network

DRAFT PROCLAMATION TEXT

Proclamation

In Support of Organ and Tissue Donation

A Proclamation

Every human life has matchless value; we must reaffirm our commitment to raising awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. We also wish to express our appreciation to those who have donated organs, tissue, and bone marrow.

Over 102,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant and thousands more need life enhancing tissue transplants. I urge all New Jersey residents to register with the state’s donor registry; say yes to organ and tissue donation on their driver's license; and share their decision with family and friends. By taking these steps, New Jerseyans can help save lives. My Administration is committed to strengthening organ and tissue donation programs and to increase the number of organs available for transplantation in order to save lives.  The kindness and generosity of donors reflect the compassionate spirit of our state.

We celebrate the life-saving work of medical professionals and researchers and the many others whose actions reflect our commitment to a brighter tomorrow. Individuals can visit www.DonateLifeNJ.org to register to become a donor, to learn the facts, and to understand how their decision to give the gift of life can make a difference in the world of so many who are in need.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, _________, Mayor of ________, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the citizens of __________, do hereby proclaim our community’s support of organ and tissue donation. I call upon health care professionals, volunteers, educators, government agencies, faith-based and community groups, and private organizations to help raise awareness of the urgent need for organ and tissue donors throughout our state.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this __________, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine.

Please send copies of this to New Jersey League of Municipalities at 222 West State Street, Trenton, NJ  08608, Attn: Shirley Cade scade@njslom.com or (609) 695-3481 ext. 114. 

 

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