April is National Donate Life Month and the Illinois Secretary of State is launching a new campaign asking Illinoisans to give the gift of life.
Secretary of State Jesse White has unveiled a new ad campaign featuring Phillip Hanks, an organ recipient who received five lifesaving organs from a single donor.
White says Hank’s story shows how organ donation saves lives. Hanks now works for the Secretary of State as an organ donor advocate and says being an organ donor can help change the story for a family as, it did his.
“Without the transplant, my wife would not have a husband, my kids wouldn’t have a father, and my new granddaughter would not have a grandfather. I would not be able to see my daughter graduate that’s coming up at the end of April, and I wouldn’t be able to see my thirteen-year-old walk across the stage in May.”
Hanks needed the transplant because, after a liver transplant in 2007, an extra valve in the liver produced scar tissue blocking an important vein, which required the five-organ transplant known as a multivisceral transplant. In April 2021, Phillip received a new liver, small and large intestine, stomach, pancreas, and kidney.
White says more than 7.3 million people have signed up to be organ donors in Illinois, but with that, approximately 4,000 people are on the waiting list and about 300 die each year waiting for an organ transplant in the state.
Secretary of State program director Connie Boatman says organ and tissue donation is truly the gift of life. “And the power of organ and tissue donation is that it transcends. It transcends ethnicity, it transcends religion, it transcends industry, and it’s a power in and of itself.”
Secretary White urges anyone considering donation to speak with their family about their choice. To find out more information or to register as an organ donor, visit lifegoeson.com.