By Ryan Sy
Wall High School’s Donate Life Club promoted its Give Life campaign as a part of Donate Life month, which occurred throughout April on a national scale.
The theme of the month nationally was “life is a beautiful ride” and utilized a biking motif. The whole purpose of Donate Life month is to encourage being an organ, tissue or eye donor to help those in need.
Wall’s chapter of the Donate Life club is one of the first in the state of New Jersey because the cause for organ donation has been a newer movement across the state.
One member of the club, Wall freshman Kiley Hubbard, shares a special connection to the cause, having received an organ donation to help save her life.
“When I was born, I only had one kidney, which was barely functioning, so I had to go on dialysis for five years,” she said. “Once I got my kidney transplant, my whole life changed. I could finally go to school, wasn’t as fatigued and wasn’t on dialysis anymore. Organ donation gave me a second chance at life! If I were to talk to someone about organ donation, I would tell them that there are so many people waiting for a transplant, so the more people that are aware about organ donation, the more people who could have a better quality of life.”
The club also made extensive use the Wall High School morning show as a way to convey information about Donate Life month. The messages were meant to spread positivity and bring awareness to the importance of organ donation.
“Our focus is to enlighten and educate students about the importance of organ donations,” said Wall senior Jenna Haviland. “We want students to understand that they can take tragedy and turn it into a positive situation. We want people to know that one person has the power to save many lives.”
“We are beginning to get a team together for NJ Sharing Network’s 5K at the end of May, Haviland added. “We would like to get many participants to celebrate this day with us!”
Three years ago, Wall lost a freshman named Luke Bautista who would be a senior preparing to graduate. He was a registered organ donor and his organs went to dozens of different people and saved five lives because of his donation. Bautista passed away on May 6, 2016. At the New Jersey Sharing Network 5K, the Donate Life club is going to walk the event as Team Luke in dedication.
“Students are becoming more aware about the gift of life and, because of that, there are more clubs forming around New Jersey,” said guidance counselor and Donate Life Club advisor Ms. Judith Gilberti as the sunshine beaming through the window was nature shining the light on the great things the Donate Life Club is trying to accomplish. “For people that are hesitant, I think there is more information that needs to be shared to show that it is a good thing to do because you don’t know if you’re going to be the recipient or are you going to be the giver?”
The Donate Life club currently stands at 40 members, most of which are seniors because of the connection the club has to Bautista and his impact as an organ donation. Those interested in joining can see Ms. Gilberti in Guidance.