NEW JERSEY - It seems there is a day, week, or month for everything. Perhaps that’s driven by most human’s inherent need for celebration and joy, or, maybe it’s because in this fast-paced world we need reminders to stop and think about what really matters. 

Even if that’s to enjoy a Margherita once in a while. And yes, we checked, there is a national margarita day. 

April, however, recognized as National Donate Life Month, is particularly meaningful.

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At a time when there is so much dividing us, this is a month that we can all get behind, because who doesn’t support giving the gift of life? In fact, according to the New Jersey Sharing Network, 161 lives have already been saved across our state this year thanks to successful organ transplants and hundreds more have had their health restored thanks to tissue donation.

When Science in Donation launched last month, it was with the intention of making sure that the current model of federally regulated nonprofit organ donation remains the best in the world. That being the case, while we celebrate the fact that it is one that has saved lives like Lakisha Bray in Plainfield, as well as 15,371 other New Jersey residents over the past 32 years, we are also using Donor Awareness Month to examine ways that we can make it even better, stronger, and more effective. 

The medical experts that are the driving force of Science in Donation have been, and will continue to, advocate for a compilation of best practices among the nonprofit Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) across the US that run on the core tenets of transparency, accountability, and altruism. We will strive to develop strategies for them to address cultural and racial disparity in donation rates and transplantation. 

We believe that it is critical that rules and regulations surrounding the accountability of OPOs must be enforced consistently, all the time. Studies and recommendations concerning the acceptance of donated organs and policy recommendations for broader use of recovered organs must be based on science, never letting political agendas, or profit, drive the discussion. 

Collaboration between hospitals, transplant centers, thought leaders, and the federal government has been successful in the past, and will be again, if given the opportunity to thrive.

Let’s make this National Donate Life Month the one when we decide to work together to achieve just one mission: to save lives. 

Science in Donation urges New Jerey residents to take action and make their voices heard by going to their website’s Take Action page and sending a message to their House Representative and Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, asking them to help save our nonprofit organ donation system.