Legacy of Life Hawai`i celebrates 30 years

This month, Legacy of Life Hawai`i celebrates 30 years of saving lives through organ and tissue donation. On July 16, 1987, Legacy of Life Hawai`i was established by the US Health Resources and Human Services Administration as the state’s only federally designated organization authorized to recover organs for transplant. Since that time, the nonprofit organization has worked to coordinate life-saving and life-restoring transplants for those on the transplant waiting list, while supporting the generous donors and their families who have given the gift of life.   

A few years ago, Legacy of Life Hawai`i asked me and my then KHON coanchor, Ron, to support its mission by posing for a poster that would hang in all Oahu DMV offices, encouraging drivers to check the box “yes” on organ donation. What an honor! For decades, I have checked “yes” so this fit my personal belief.

Ron and me in the Legacy of Life poster, 2014
The poster at a DMV office.

In 2007, Legacy of Life Hawai`i launched its Family Services program with grant funding from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation to provide family members of organ and tissue donors with support and opportunities to heal following the death of a loved one.

Through the organization’s public education efforts, legislative advocacy, outreach and visibility the number of registered organ donors in Hawai`i has increased from 12 percent in 1991 to 61 percent today. 

Since its founding, Legacy of Life Hawai`i has coordinated lifesaving transplants for approximately 1,500 people in Hawai`i. Thousands more on the waiting list across the U.S. have received life-saving organs and life-restoring cornea, skin, bone, heart valves and tissue through the selflessness of Hawai`i’s organ/tissue donors.

Legacy of Life Hawai`i is a nonprofit organization and the only organization in Hawai`i federally designated to recover organs and tissue for transplant. Its mission is to save and enhance lives through recovering organs and tissue for transplant, encourage organ donation through community outreach and education, and honor and support donor families.

Legacy of Life Hawai`i works closely with Hawai`i hospitals to cultivate an understanding in our diverse communities that life is worth giving. Legacy of Life Hawai`i is located on the campus of the Kuakini Medical Center in the Physicians’ Office Tower, Suite 810, 405 North Kuakini Street, Honolulu, HI 96817. More at http://www.legacyoflifehawaii.org.

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