CU student accounts largest-ever CO donor drive  |  December 2, 2010

Students for Organ Donation at CU, CSU wager friendly bet and generate staggering results

Members of the CU and CSU donor drive teams, at the culminating event, the 2010 Rocky Mountain Showdown. Their combined efforts resulted in the largest registry drive in Colorado to date.

In the fall of 2007 I took over a student group, Students for Organ Donation, on the campus of the University of Colorado. For all intents and purposes, this group was dormant – there were no members. It was relayed to me that the group had been started by a couple of pre-med students with the sole purpose of being able to bolster their resumes. I couldn’t find any record of any attempts to legitimize the group. I was frustrated at first that students in my community could be so disingenuous. Frustration soon subsided to motivation and I was adamant to make the group work.

I naively thought this was going to be an easy task.  I would recruit some of my friends and we would set up tables around campus to register and inform students about the need for organ and tissue donors. My mother is a heart transplant recipient so the cause is close to my heart. I was hopeful for an immediate impact.

For more than two years Students for Organ Donation struggled to retain members and substantiate a presence on campus. We made modest gains at times but the group never really seemed to find its niche. This all changed, however, in August when I was approached by Nicole Williams from Donor Alliance, the local organ procurement organization.  She came to me with the idea of challenging Colorado State to see who could register more organ and tissue donors before the annual CU v. CSU football game.   So, during the week of the Rocky Mountain Showdown booths were set up around freshman dorms to spread the word about organ and tissue donation.

I never expected the incredibly positive response that we received. The student body was inspired with the challenge of beating CSU. By the end of the week we were able to register more than 800 students and the two schools combined to register or update over a thousand students (376 of whom were new organ donors). Since the launch of Donate Life Colorado in 2001, this is the largest registry drive in Colorado to date.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the efforts of Nicole, Donate Life Colorado, and most importantly the students from CU and CSU that chose to make a difference and become organ and tissue donors. Not in my wildest dreams could I have ever expected such a response. It has made all the efforts over the past few years more than worthwhile. Next year I will be leaving CU and it is my hope that this registry will become an annual event.

– By Talbot Fucci

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