Gift of Hope, City Officials Host Inaugural Organ Summit

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

According to the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, more than 4,700 men, women, and children living in Illinois are waiting for organ transplants. However, 300 of those individuals will die waiting. On Tuesday morning, the City of Chicago, the Illinois Secretary of State and Gift of Hope hosted the inaugural Chicago Organ Summit to “empower local and state government, hospitals, and health systems, transplant centers, patient advocacy groups, and other partnering organizations in Illinois to come together to transform Chicago into the transplant hub of the country.” This summit took place at the Chicago Cultural Center. “The summit is a true collaborative effort that unites Chicago in making a positive impact on organ transplantation,” said Kevin Cmunt, president and CEO for Gift of Hope. “By working together, we can save more lives, reduce the wait, and facilitate new breakthroughs aimed at enhancing patient outcomes and providing expanded support for donors and recipients.” Top healthcare providers presented their commitments from their organizations designed to increase transplantation in Illinois. “Last year, the Chicago Department of Public Health launched Healthy Chicago 2.0, a four-year health and wellness initiative that puts community involvement at its core,” said Dr. Julie Morita, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health. “This Chicago Organ Summit helps build upon our commitment to improving the health and well-being of those living and working in all Chicago communities.” One of the many commitments included at the summit was by the year 2020, Gift of Hope will increase organs recovered for transplant by 25 percent to save and enhance the lives of as many people as possible.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Photo Caption:

The City of Chicago, the Illinois Secretary of State, and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network sponsored the first ever Chicago Organ Summit and made the commitment to turn Chicago into the transplant hub of the country. (From left to right, The Honorable Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, The Honorable Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State; and Kevin Cmunt, CEO/President, Gift of Hope.)

After losing his father two years ago, 16-year-old, Jacob Lenzini, advocates for a new bill which will allow 16- and 17-year olds join the organ donor registry.

Photo Credit: Ana Miyares.

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