News and Media
We Are Sharing Hope SC’s Update on COVID-19
March 30, 2020
To our South Carolina community,
I would like to take a moment to thank all those who are doing their part in saving lives and flattening the curve. If that means you are working on the front lines and interacting with patients who might be exposed to COVID-19, thank you. Your sacrifice is felt and honored. If that means you’re staying home to protect our community and bring an end to this pandemic, thank you. Your adjustment to a new normal is recognized.
Regarding donation and transplantation in SC, we are working to enact new plans and protocols to navigate these unchartered waters. We’re staying ahead of regulatory changes and maintaining strong relationships with our hospital and transplant partners to establish and ensure clear communication channels that will best help us serve the people of SC. We have been able to remain mission-focused and continue to facilitate the gift of organ and tissue donation throughout the month of March and look forward to being able to continue doing so in the weeks and months to come.
As April is upon us, we have been working in partnership with our donation programs across the state to provide a full calendar of events to engage our community and promote the gift of organ and tissue donation. In these trying times, it’s important to recognize the impact of something like COVID-19 on our transplant recipients, so we want to promote social distancing, but also remain virtually connected.
Again, thank you for being a part of our commitment to honoring legacies and saving lives. We are here for the people of South Carolina and continue to look for ways to inspire our community, offer hope and change lives through the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation.
We Are Sharing Hope SC’s Response to Donate Life Month and COVID-19
March 12, 2020
Dear South Carolina Donation and Transplantation Community,
We hope this letter finds you in good health and good spirits. As you know, April is right around the corner and that is our time to share with the world the amazing impact of organ, eye and tissue donation through tabling events, community gatherings and celebrations across the state and country. In light of the current realities surrounding COVID-19 (coronavirus), we have made the very difficult decision to limit our activities and outreach throughout the month. Though we may not have as many opportunities to see each other in person, we hope to continue the conversations and engagement through social media platforms, videos and remote opportunities.
At this time, We Are Sharing Hope SC and Donate Life SC will not be hosting the following events:
– National Donate Life Celebration Press Conference in Columbia, scheduled for April 2nd
– Donate Life Celebration Day, Tabernacle Baptist Church in Blackville, scheduled for April 4th
– Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Columbia Zoo, scheduled for April 18th
These decisions were not made easily, but were made with the health and well-being of our transplant recipient community and the hope to limit travel and exposure to anyone who may have come in contact with coronavirus.
We will be sending information to you, our Donate Life Ambassadors, throughout the month to be able to share and continue the conversations surrounding the most amazing gift – the gift of life.
As many of you are also aware, we are quickly approaching an event many of us hold very dear and look forward to attending year after year. Yesterday, the Transplant Life Foundation, responsible for hosting the Transplant Games of America, released a statement assuring the community that the Transplant Games will be held July 17 – 22nd in Meadowlands, NJ. As the entity responsible for facilitating Team South Carolina, Donate Life South Carolina would like to assure you that we are monitoring the situation and will make decisions based on the safety and health of our South Carolina recipients, donor families and supporters as information is made available to us. We understand that there are many unknowns at this time and as more data is collected, we will continue to communicate our plans and contingency plans. Donate Life SC would like to emphasize that all fundraising proceeds by Team SC members are placed in a restricted funds account that is safeguarded for future use as intended only. We would like to encourage each of you to please continue to support our team mission and assist us in making this great raffle/fundraiser a success!
At this time, we encourage you to make decisions for you and your family based on your current situation and health conditions.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to either Tracy Moore (TMoore@DonateLifeSC.org) or Kristine Neal (NealK@SharingHopeSC.org). Thank you for your attention and understanding during this time.
South Carolina’s Generous Organ Donor Spirit Sees 47 Percent Growth in 4 years
Charleston, SC – January 10, 2019: We Are Sharing Hope SC (SHSC), the not-for-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization serving South Carolina, is proud to announce that in 2018, the people of South Carolina said “yes” to organ donation 47 percent more often than in 2015; this serves as a testament to the generosity of those who register themselves and their families who say “yes” to saving others through their selfless gift. In 2018, 181 South Carolina organ donor heroes saved 472 lives, showcasing consistent growth in donation spirit from 2015, when 123 organ donor heroes saved 374 lives.
“The people of South Carolina continue to leave lasting legacies locally and across the country with their altruistic decision to give life to others,” said Dave DeStefano, President and CEO of We Are Sharing Hope SC. “Those 472 recipients who received a second chance will be forever grateful to the hero who saved their life.”
The number of people who generously donated tissue to heal others also continues to grow across the state. 292 South Carolina tissue donor heroes provided life-enhancing gifts for potentially 22,000 people – 42 percent more tissue donors than in 2015.
Nationally, more life-saving transplants took place than ever before, with an astounding 36,500 transplants occurring in 2018. This represents a 6th consecutive year of increased gifts being shared with others.
“We are incredibly proud and grateful to have facilitated a record number of lifesaving organ transplants in 2018,” said Sue Dunn, president of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors. “We never forget that our work is made possible by the selfless donors and their courageous families who make the powerful decision to give the gift of life.”
In South Carolina, more than 1,000 people are awaiting a life-saving transplant and nationally, more than 114,000 are dependent on the generosity of people making an altruistic decision to say “yes” to the Gift of Life. Individuals can register to be an organ, eye or tissue donor at www.DonateLifeSC.org, by saying “yes” at the SCDMV or through the iPhone Health App Medical Tab.
South Carolina Celebrates Donate Life Month
Greenville, SC – April 3, 2018: Donate Life South Carolina and We Are Sharing Hope SC are celebrating April as National Donate Life Month, following a monumental 2017 and start of 2018. Over the past decade, South Carolinians have generously responded to the Donate Life message by registering to save and improve lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. Earlier this year, the South Carolina Donor Registry reached the milestone of having two million South Carolinians signed up as donors. In fact, because of the generosity of South Carolinians in 2017, the state became one of the top five most giving areas of the country in terms of organ donation. Last year 166 generous donors and their families made it possible for 560 organs to be transplanted in the state and elsewhere in the nation. This is the highest number in We Are Sharing Hope SC’s 33-year history.
National Donate Life Month honors the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families while remembering those who have died waiting on a transplant. It also commemorates those who have either received or continue to wait for life-saving transplants. Without more heroes who say “yes,” many on the waiting list will die waiting. National Donate Life Month focuses attention on every individual’s power to make LIFE possible by registering their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donors, and learning more about living donation.
To highlight the month-long celebration, Donate Life South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will hold a joint press conference at 10:00 AM on April 10, 2018 on the first floor lobby of the South Carolina State House in Columbia. April will be declared as Donate Life Month in South Carolina through a proclamation by The Honorable Governor Henry McMaster. Senator Katrina Shealy of Lexington County will also introduce a Senate resolution designating April 10th as Donor Day in South Carolina, recognizing all facets of donations including living, blood, bone marrow and research. Several other speakers for this special day will include a heart transplant recipient, a living kidney exchange paired donor and recipient, and a donor mom.
LifePoint Is Now We Are Sharing Hope SC
Our Mission Continues After 33 Years Of Service In SC
Charleston, SC – January 25, 2017: LifePoint is now We Are Sharing Hope SC, effective January 25, 2017. Why? The short answer is because LifePoint Health has moved into South Carolina and we agreed it might be confusing to serve our clients with the same name. But there’s more to it than that. This presented a unique opportunity to explore more fully who we are as an organization and why changing our name could enable us to more aptly describe what we do in serving our donor families, recipients and our community as a whole.
After many months and hundreds of hours of deliberation, we decided We Are Sharing Hope SC resonated with us as an organization and as human beings. At the core, our calling is sharing hope with the families that depend on us, so there’s really no better name to describe us.
Sharing Hope for us includes:
- Recovering organs and tissues for transplantation to save, heal and enhance lives
- Determining suitability of organs and tissues for transplantation to ensure the safety of potential recipients
- Coordinating with and educating our professional partners about the donation process
- Offering donor family support counseling during the donation process
- Providing care and support for our donor families after donation
- Supporting the recovery and use of all non-transplantable organs and tissues for research and education
Changing our name to We Are Sharing Hope SC in no way changes who we are and what we are doing as an organization. We are still helping donor families and recipients through an incredibly difficult time in their lives with compassion, love and, most of all, hope.
In South Carolina, 127 people became organ donors at their deaths during 2016 and resulted in 458 organs transplanted in South Carolina and across the nation. This is the highest number of donors and transplanted organs in the past five years. Nationally, over 33,000 people began new lives last year thanks to organ transplants. That is a record high for the 4th consecutive year.
While we are seeing an increase in the number of organ donors, it is important to remember that the number of people waiting on a transplant still remains extremely large and more donors are needed to help save lives. In South Carolina, over 1,000 people are waiting on a lifesaving organ transplant and nationally that number grows to over 118,000 people.
There were also 205 tissue donors during 2016 which have improved the lives of South Carolinians and people across the country. Over one million tissue transplants were performed in the United States during 2016.
Since our inception in 1984, initially named South Carolina Organ Procurement Organization (SCOPA), our organization has facilitated and honored the gifts of nearly 3,000 organ donors which resulted in almost 10,000 organs being transplanted.
SCOPA became LifePoint on June 15, 2001 and in January 2003, LifePoint merged with South Carolina Lions Eye Bank. Two years later, in January 2005, the American Red Cross Southeastern Tissue Services ceased recovering tissue so LifePoint started recovering tissue too. In June 2015, LifePoint transferred its ocular department to Miracles in Sight (MIS) headquartered in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Now as of January 25, 2017 We Are Sharing Hope.
We believe by changing our name we can now realize even more of the aspirations we have as an organization to make donation an everyday conversation. We know the difference a single donation can make, both to the donor’s family and to the recipient. It is a very delicate balance on either end but we believe our work together can share hope with all of those who may be impacted by the gift of donation.
About We Are Sharing Hope
We Are Sharing Hope SC is the designated Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) for organ recovery services in South Carolina. We Are Sharing Hope SC actively provides organ and tissue donor services to 62 hospitals throughout the state. We Are Sharing Hope SC also helps support and educate families at an emotionally devastating time, so they can make well-informed decisions about organ, eye and tissue donation.
LifePoint CEO Nancy A. Kay Retires After 32 Years
Successor Named and Takes Over In February
Charleston, SC – December 28, 2016: LifePoint, the federally certified organ, eye and tissue procurement organization for South Carolina (excluding Aiken and Edgefield counties), announces the retirement of its founder and only Chief Executive Officer and President, Nancy A. Kay. She founded the non-profit organization and has been instrumental in its life-saving mission since day one. Since its inception in 1984, initially named South Carolina Organ Procurement Organization (SCOPA), LifePoint has facilitated and honored the gifts of nearly 3,000 organ donors which resulted in almost 10,000 organs being transplanted. Ms. Kay’s decision to retire will bring to close a remarkable career of 32 years of continuous service to the organization. She has been invaluable in saving thousands of lives of patients on the organ transplant waiting list and enhancing the lives of many more through eye and tissue donation.
Ms. Kay started her career in 1979 at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) as a kidney perfusionist and transplant coordinator working with kidney dialysis patients. She says it took a “leap of faith” to leave MUSC and create South Carolina’s first organ procurement organization.
SCOPA’s name was changed to LifePoint on June 15, 2001. In January 2003, LifePoint merged with South Carolina Lions Eye Bank. In January 2005, the American Red Cross Southeastern Tissue Services ceased recovering tissue so LifePoint started recovering tissue too. In June 2015, LifePoint transferred its ocular department to Miracles in Sight (MIS) headquartered in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
One of Ms. Kay’s greatest accomplishments as head of LifePoint came from changes she made in organ donation methods over 15 years ago, improvements that led to LifePoint becoming one of the top organ procurement organizations in the United States. Her innovations have since been adopted by other organ procurement organizations nation-wide as best practice methods of working with donor families.
In 2007, Ms. Kay also worked with Donate Life South Carolina to encourage state legislators to enact legislation to establish the South Carolina Organ and Tissue Donor Registry to help increase the number of organ and tissue donors in the state and to better honor their final wishes. The South Carolina Donor Registry was officially launched in January 2009. Today nearly 2 million South Carolinians have registered their intent to donate organs and tissues following their deaths.
“It is gratifying to see the growth and development that has taken place at LifePoint over the past 30 years. I feel now is the time in my life to step down and let someone else lead this wonderful organization into the future,” states Nancy A. Kay, the CEO and President of LifePoint. “In 1984, there were just three employees and we worked with approximately 12 donors. We have reached many milestones since then.”
After Ms. Kay’s retirement announcement to the LifePoint Board of Directors and staff in January 2016, an extensive nationwide search for her successor began in June. The process was narrowed down to the top five candidates and ultimately the offer of the CEO and President position was made to David DeStefano. Mr. DeStefano accepted and brings with him a wealth of experience in the field of organ and tissue recovery.
Over the past twenty years, Mr. DeStefano has been engaged in the life-saving endeavor of organ and tissue donation as a member of the executive leadership teams at the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) in Washington, DC, Lifesharing in San Diego, CA and most recently TransLife in Orlando, FL.
As the Director of Recovery Services, he led the WRTC to achieve the highest organ and tissue donation rates in its history. These results earned WRTC receipt of the prestigious Gold Medal of Honor for Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) performance from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Mr. DeStefano left WRTC in 2012 to become the Director of Operations at Lifesharing. During his first year, the number of organ donors facilitated that year was the second highest in Lifesharing’s history. The organization simultaneously improved lung donation and transplantation by 130%.
Currently, Mr. DeStefano serves as the Executive Director at TransLife where he has been since 2014. In his first year, TransLife achieved the greatest number of organ donors in its history, while earning its second best year in tissue donation. The team’s remarkable success in organ donation represented an astounding 59% increase over the prior year. This led the nation in OPO performance improvement. This year TransLife has surpassed the record-setting achievements of 2015 in both organ and tissue donation. The organization also received the 2016 Innovation in Donation and Transplantation award from NATCO.
Mr. DeStefano has significant experience in the regional and national issues related to donation and transplantation. He has served on a variety of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and Association of Organ Procurement Organization (AOPO) committees. He is a member of the Donor Management Task Force and was the Chair of the Procurement Council.
About We Are Sharing Hope
LifePoint CEO Nancy A. Kay Retires After 32 Years
Successor Named and Takes Over In February
About We Are Sharing Hope
Our Excellence In Donation initiative is an effort to renew and build on the relationship between hospitals in the state, the South Carolina Hospital Association, Sharing Hope SC (formerly LifePoint) and Donate Life South Carolina to support organ, eye and tissue donation.
Congratulations to the following hospitals who met specified criteria for our inaugural Sharing Hope SC Excellence in Donation (EID) Community Outreach Award: Coastal Carolina Hospital, Hampton Regional Hospital and Spartanburg Medical Center.
Also, congratulations to Spartanburg Medical Center on becoming the FIRST hospital in SC to win an award (GOLD Certificate) from HRSA in their Workplace Partnership Hospital Campaign – Phase V. Information will be forthcoming soon on this national program from HRSA for Phase VI.
All awards were presented yesterday at the SC TAP (Trustees, Administrators, Physicians) Convention in Hilton Head. We also introduced our updated EID program at this conference and hope many SC hospitals will join this initiative to educate our communities about organ, eye and tissue donation.
For the calendar year 2016, Sharing Hope SC (SHSC) won five LifeNet Health Tissue Services awards, all based on technical skills, surgical skills and quality metrics. This was the most awards given to any one tissue provider by LifeNet Health. “We are proud of our tissue recovery department, but most proud of our achievement of ‘#1 Overall’ Partner,” said Jeff Thomas, SHSC Chief Clinical Officer. “These awards represent our commitment to excellence and quality in donation and most importantly the honoring of the donor and donor families in South Carolina.”
- November, 5 2018 – Midlands Teen To Be Honored In The 2019 Rose Parade® For Giving The Gift of Life
- April 3, 2018 – South Carolina Celebrates Donate Life Month
- January 12, 2018 – A Record Lifesaving Year In South Carolina
- April 1, 2017 – April Is National Donate Life Month (PDF)
- January 26, 2017 – LifePoint Is Now We Are Sharing Hope SC (PDF)
- December 28, 2016 – LifePoint CEO Nancy A. Kay Retires After 32 Years (PDF)
Become a Donor Today
In 30 short minutes, three people will be added to the national transplant list, where approximately 120,000 people in the U.S. and over 1,000 in South Carolina are waiting for a life-saving transplant - 22 of those people will die today before receiving one. A single donation can make an enormous difference, both to the donor’s family and the recipient.