LifeCenter Saves Lives, Nurtures Hope
LifeCenter Organ Donor Network has a very simple mission: Saving lives through organ and tissue donation.
In Greater Cincinnati alone, more than 700 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant at any given time, according to LifeCenter; nationally, more than 123,000 people need a transplant.
LifeCenter, founded in 1981 as the Ohio Valley Organ Procurement Organization, works to educate the public on the value of organ and tissue donation, to register donors and to coordinate with recipients, donors and healthcare providers. It serves 16 counties in Ohio,
Indiana and Northern Kentucky.
“What we try to do is to get more people to register as donors, either when they renew their licenses or online,” says Barry C. Massa, LifeCenter’s executive director.
The biggest obstacle in getting people to sign up is the stubborn belief that if they register as an organ donor, they won’t get the best possible care if they are seriously injured or ill, Massa said. It’s not true, he stressed, pointing out that doctors are trained to save lives no matter what.
“We are not associated at all with the hospitals. We are not associated at all with the doctors. We aren’t even informed that there is someone in the hospital who might become a potential organ donor until every life-sustaining measure has been tried,” he says.
Massa and his staff focus on educating the public about the benefits of organ donation by visiting high schools, Reds Fest and Bengals games, fairs and carnivals and other events. And it’s working: More than 60 percent of eligible donors have registered in LifeCenter’s service area, which is higher than the average statewide registration rates for Ohio and Kentucky. “We’re pretty proud of that,” he says.
And those registrations mean saved lives – including, Massa says, a record-setting year in 2014, when LifeCenter coordinated 214 organ transplants and almost 500 tissue donations.
All that outreach – with promotional materials, signs, Web sites and informational items like calendars featuring organ recipients and donor families – has a cost. U.S. Bank’s donations have helped underwrite those costs.
“It’s not to pay the lights or pay for the building. Those monies are strictly used for community outreach,” Massa says. “It’s a way for us to get the word out.”
The most recent donation will pay for a promotional calendar.
Ryan says the dedication to their mission demonstrated by Massa and the LifeCenter staff prompted the support.
“It starts with the people of the organization. You’ve just got to know Barry and his team to understand the work they do, and once you recognize that, you get a 360 degree view of how important and impactful this organization is to the community,” Ryan says.
He said he’s known Massa for “probably 12, 15 years,” and first became acquainted with LifeCenter through a friend who ended up going to work for the organization – at around the time Massa began as executive director.
Through those relationships, he said, it’s easy to be impressed with the dedicated staff and become involved helping to promote the positive impact LifeCenter has in the community.
“I am honored to be a part of an organization that fulfills such vital need in the Cincinnati area, couple that with the support I can give personally and as a corporate steward, it is a priceless opportunity and just feels good to be involved with such a great cause,” Ryan says.
LifeCenter Inc. is located at 615 Elsinore Place, Cincinnati, OH 45202. You can call them at 513.558.5555 or visit them online at www.lifepassiton.org.