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WMU competes in Gift of Life challenge

Jan. 26, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is competing with 14 other colleges and universities in Michigan in a contest to see which school can get the most people to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry by Feb. 25. Led by the Student Nurses Association, this is WMU's fifth year competing in the event. The University registered about 150 people in the past year's challenge.

"The energy and enthusiasm that Western Michigan University students bring to organ and tissue donation is refreshing," says Richard Pietroski, executive director of Gift of Life Michigan. "WMU students recognize that organ donation is about the continuation of life and offering hope to other in need."

Anyone who wishes to give the gift of life while supporting WMU in the University Challenge can register to become an organ donor at giftoflifemichigan.org. Signing up takes less than a minute, but offers a lifetime to those in need of an organ or tissue transplant. Select the "school/college" option when asked where you heard about organ donation, then choose "Western Michigan University" from the drop-down menu.

Those who register to become organ or tissue donors will receive a red heart on their driver's licenses, and will have their donor information entered into the Gift of Life Organ, Tissue and Eye Donor Registry. The registry is a confidential electronic database that documents Michiganders' wishes regarding organ and tissue donations. Those who have registered as donors in the past can update their information to receive a donor sticker.

Since its inception in 2004, the University Challenge has resulted in more than 19,500 Michigan residents signing up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Each donor has the potential to save as many as eight lives through organ transplants and to enhance the quality of life for up to 50 people through donated tissues.

For more information, including current University Challenge standings and a link to the competition's Facebook group, visit giftoflifemichigan.org, or contact Brittany Bender at b4bender@wmich.edu.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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