April is National Donate Life month. Some Peoria residents and civic leaders are trying to raise awareness about the need for more kidney and organ donors. The Peoria leaders have formed an advisory group that will work with the Gift of Hope Organ procurement network. On Monday the leaders advisory group officially became a member of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce. After a ribbon cutting they held their first meeting at the Chamber of Commerce office. They're planning to host health fairs, donor drives and social media campaigns to raise awareness about the need for more organ donors.
"When families have that opportunity to make end of life decisions, when they're loved one is in the hospital ideally it's best if they already know their loved ones wishes and their loved one is a registered donor," said Gift of Hope Community Affairs Manager Lisa Dodson.
The group also wants to raise awareness among African Americans and Hispanics about the need for more organ donors.
"We're 50 percent of all the donors on the list but we're only 15-20 percent of those that donate. A lot of our folks that look like us are being left out of this service," said Kidney Recipient James Flemming.
Organizers say that there are about 5,000 people on the list for kidney transplants in Illinois. Nationwide there are about 88,000 people across the country.
They're hoping that with scheduled events more family members will become organ donors. If you're interested in being an organ donor there are two ways to sign up. You can go to the Secretary of State's Motor Vehicle office or you can go online. It takes just a few minutes and you need identification, your driver's license or a photo i-d number.
For more information or to sign up head to organ donor dot-gov. Or Gift of Hope.org.