UnityPoint Health joining Gift of Hope to spread the message of organ donation

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — April is National Donate Life Month and UnityPoint Health Central Illinois is partnering with Gift of Hope, encouraging the public to consider organ donation.

The two organizations are showing appreciation for those who have saved lives through organ and tissue donations.

They gathered outside of UnityPoint Health Methodist Friday, April 16, and raised a flag for those who have given the gift of life and the families who mourn and grieve for them.

“It’s a way to show healing and opportunity and we’re just all very thankful and we want to give homage to those individuals and families that have gone through and made a difficult decision for people like me to have a second chance at life,” Suzie Sturm, lead ambassador of the Gift of Hope Peoria Chapter, said.

Sturm said organ donations saved her life and she wants to continue raising awareness. She said, as a living witness, she wants to show how much the Gift of Hope is making a difference.

“I feel a sense of purpose and obligation to live my way, live my life in a way that will make my donor proud,” Sturm said. “I think the message today is whether you’re a donor family or you’re a recipient, we want to continue to spread the word of donation.”

Sturm said living donors, their families and recipients all share a fellowship based on faith, hope and healing

“It’s healing for those donor families to see us living out and contributing when their loss is so great,” Sturm said. “And we’re all appreciative as recipients for those donor families who made that difficult decision to give us the gift of life.”

She said the organizations are encouraging people to join the donation registry.

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