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Illinois faith groups aim to boost organ, tissue donations

November 13, 2021 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — About 4,000 Illinois residents are on waiting lists for organ and tissue donations. A new public service announcement in honor of National Donor Sabbath is a reminder that most religious faiths embrace organ donation.

The PSA released by Secretary of State Jesse White features Phillip Hanks of Joliet. The father of six says he’s alive today because of his faith in God and an organ donor who gave him five internal organs.

National Donor Sabbath started Friday and ends Sunday. It’s an annual event in which varying faith communities collaborate to raise awareness about donations.

“Many people buy into the myth that their religion does not support organ donation,” White said. “However, most religions honor and respect organ donation as an act of generosity.”

The United Network for Organ Sharing indicates that major religious groups supporting the practice include Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism and other Christian denominations.

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Nationally, 107,000 people are awaiting organ or tissue transplants, including the 4,000 in Illinois, where about 300 people die annually because organs or tissue are not available.

The PSA was distributed to about 100 radio stations statewide. It can be heard on the secretary of state’s Life Goes On website.