IFA and Iowa Donor Network Challenge
The Iowa Firefighters Association is partnering with the Iowa Donor Network to challenge each county in Iowa to gain 100 additional registered organ donors in 100 days. We issued the challenge today on National Donate Life Green and Blue Day to raise awareness of the lifesaving importance of being a registered donor.
As firefighters we are blessed with a job that allows us to help people, and sometimes even save a life. We want Iowans to know they can be a hero too, by giving the gift of life as a registered organ donor.
As many of you know, Brian Seymour, a retired Indianola Fire Chief, past president of the IFA and an organ donor, died from injuries sustained after a major fall last month. He dedicated 32 years of his life to public service, as a firefighter, paramedic and EMS director. Brian went beyond that to help others, including leading a mission trip to Africa to teach children fire safety and to provide an African community with a fire truck.
In one last act of honor in helping others, Brian was an organ and tissue donor. In death, he positively impacted 72 lives through his gift of life. It seemed fitting for the IFA board of directors to issue this lifesaving challenge to Iowans in Brian’s memory and in hope of helping Jill Junk.
Jill Junk, 57, the wife of Waterloo firefighter Joe Junk, is one of 19 Iowans on the organ waitlist in critical need of a new liver very soon. Jill’s eight year battle with pancreatic cancer has damaged her liver. She will be traveling to the Mayo Clinic this month to begin tests with hopes of finding a match very soon. Jill is A positive blood type and there is a chance that she could also receive a partial liver transplant from a living donor.
More details are in the press release issued this morning. Those of you who knew Brian may wish to view the ceremony recognizing Brian and honoring Jill yesterday at the Waterloo Fire Headquarters.
We understand that different members may have different comfort levels in discussing organ donation—and the IFA board asks you to be involved as little or as much as feels right for you.
Some may wish to write a letter to the editor and submit to local papers (attached is sample letter), others may wish to give presentations at service clubs or just speak with friends and family about being an organ donor. If you have fish fries or pancake breakfasts planned, you may wish to have the Iowa Donor Network at your events to handout literature and register donors.
If you would like to request Iowa Donor Network materials, speakers or representatives to register donors at an event, please email Tony Hakes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tony will put you in touch with a local Iowa Donor representative assigned to your area. Just imagine how many people on this waitlist we could save, if we can reach our goal of 100 people per county.