Gift of Life Campus Challenge returns to GVSU

By Sarah Hollis | 1/25/18 2:01am

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GVL / Emily Frye Donor driver licences on Wednesday January 24, 2018.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, someone is added to the national transplant list every 10 minutes, and approximately 20 people waiting for a transplant die every day. 

Until Tuesday, Feb. 20, colleges and universities in Michigan, including Grand Valley State University, are taking part in the Gift of Life Campus Challenge to help more Michigan residents register to be organ donors. 

Jordyn Dresch, a GVSU student involved in the challenge, thinks the competition is a great opportunity for students to get involved in a good cause.

“It really helps get students and young adults involved in what’s actually going on and to show them how they’re helping make a change because of how limited they are to people who are registered in the state of Michigan,” she said.

Participating in the Gift of Life Campus Challenge gives students and their families the opportunity to help many of their fellow Michigan residents. 

“According to Gift of Life, there’s more than 3,500 Michigan residents who are awaiting a transplant, and the more people we get on this registry, the better chance they will have to get the organ they are waiting on,” said Faith Barzyk, Gift of Life Campus Challenge coordinator for the GVSU Student Nurses’ Association (SNA). “A lot of people actually die every day because they aren’t able to get that organ that they need. You can save up to eight lives with your organ transplant, and you can improve up to 75 lives.” 

The Gift of Life Campus Challenge also works to fight the stigma surrounding organ donation and becoming registered as an organ donor. 

“There’s actually a lot of stigma around donating organs and being on the registry,” Barzyk said. “A lot of people don’t understand that they’re not going to take your organs from you until you pass away. They think that they’ll get a call that the registry wants to take an organ from them, but it’s really not until that person passes away.”

Dresch agrees with Barzyk, adding that being an organ donor saves lives.

“It’s (the Gift of Life Campus Challenge) getting the word out about how positive it is and not how it’s negative and having to do with when someone dies,” Dresch said. “It’s showing the positive impact you could have if you were no longer here or if something tragic happened to someone that you know.”

At GVSU, there will be chances to win prizes each week for those who register to be an organ donor in Michigan. After signing up, the volunteer’s name is placed into a raffle that will be drawn weekly.

Anyone who is already a registered organ donor in Michigan can participate by spreading the word and encouraging their friends who aren’t registered to go online and do so.

Those interested in learning more about the Gift of Life Campus Challenge can visit www.giftoflifemichigan.org, follow @giftoflifemich on Instagram or visit Gift of Life Michigan on Facebook

Those who wish to register as a Michigan organ donor can go to www.giftoflifemichigan.org/go/gvsu

At GVSU, a new Gift of Life club is being formed, and those interested in learning more can email Dresch at jkdresch6@gmail.com.

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