News and Media
April Is National Donate Life Month
Donate Life South Carolina and Sharing Hope SC will celebrate National Donate Life Month this April. Kicking off 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 12, 2017 on the 1st floor lobby of the South Carolina State House in Columbia. This press conference will announce the results of a three year renewed partnership plan between those two organizations to increase the number of registered donors in the state. The Honorable Governor Henry McMaster of the State of South Carolina will announce April as Donate Life Month in South Carolina. Senator Katrina Shealy of Lexington County will also announce a Senate resolution designating April 12th as Donor Day in South Carolina, recognizing the life-saving attributes of all types of living and deceased donation.
Several other speakers for this special day will also be featured. Former NFL coach and player Sam Wyche will share his powerful story of receiving a new heart and the miracle of his life-saving transplant. Also speaking will be two women who met through their children, became friends and discovered that one was a perfect match to give the other a kidney and the “gift of life” through living donation. In addition, a mother whose son died and was a donor will tell his story of saving several lives by making the decision to be a donor.
Donate Life Month honors the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families. It also commemorates those who have either received or continue to wait for life-saving transplants. Donor Day honors the generosity of all facets of donations including living, blood, bone marrow and research. In addition to the joint press conference, numerous other events will be taking place across the state to commemorate Donate Life Month:
1. Donate Life at The Heritage Classic: April 10th – April 16th The RBC Heritage, presented by Boeing volunteers, staff and board members, will be supporting Donate Life Month by wearing Donate Life pins and Polo Shirts that represent Donate Life SC, RBC Heritage and the SCDMV partnership.
2. National Blue and Green Day: On April 21, 2017, the public is encouraged to wear blue and green, hold events and fundraisers, and partner with other community organizations in an effort to spread awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. Over 40 South Carolina DMV offices will be participating to show support for organ, eye and tissue donation. Several hospitals across the state will also recognize this day.
More than half of the U.S. adult population are registered as donors in the United States and over 1.8 million are in South Carolina. Still, the number of people in need of transplants continues to rise. Currently, approximately 120,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list and over 1000 of those are on the South Carolina waiting list. In fact, an average of 22 people in the U.S. die each day because of the shortage of lifesaving organs. The solution to this problem is to continue educating the public about the lifesaving effects of donation and transplantation. We encourage everyone to make their decision known by signing up on the state’s donor registry.
“Donate Life Month serves as an opportunity to make or renew the commitment to saving lives and a chance to honor the lives of those who have given and received the Gift of Life,” states Donate Life South Carolina CEO Tracy Moore. “This year, on April 12th at the State Capitol, we will honor all donors, living and deceased, who have made the decision to help others through donation.”
Individuals can also register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at DonateLifeSC.org or Registerme.org. Also, now individuals can register in seconds to be an organ, eye and tissue donor through the Health/Medical app on iPhones. Everyone is then encouraged to always check “YES” to donation when filling out the SCDMV credentials form and remain in the registry. By doing so, the heart and “Y” symbol will indicate one’s legal authorization to become a donor when registering through the SCDMV.
Without more donors, many on the waiting list will die waiting. It is hoped that the designation of April as Donate Life Month will call attention to the need for more donors in South Carolina as well as inform the public about the South Carolina Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.
To get more information or to set up an interview with someone touched by donation/transplantation contact Mark Johnson, Media Relations Coordinator for Sharing Hope SC, at 1-800-462-0755 or 843-763-7755.
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
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.
- April 1, 2017 – April Is National Donate Life Month
- 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.