These annual events offer opportunities to raise awareness about the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation.
January 1: The Rose Parade and Donate Life Float
Annually on New Year's Day, the Donate Life float appears in the Rose Parade to honor millions of people touched by organ, eye and tissue donation, including living donors, donor families, transplant recipients and transplant candidates.
January: National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
A time to highlight the importance of giving life through the donation of blood and to honor past and present donors and encourage new ones.
February 14: National Donor Day
Focused on five points of life: organs, tissues, marrow, platelets, and blood. Many nonprofit health organizations sponsor blood and marrow drives and organ/tissue sign-ups across the nation. National Donor Day was started in 1998 by the Saturn Corporation and its United Auto Workers partner with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and many nonprofit health organizations.
April: National Donate Life Month
Organ procurement organizations, transplant centers, national donation organizations and other organizations sponsor special awareness events and donor recognition ceremonies to promote donation awareness and registration. Prior to 2003, this national observance was a week. In 2003, it was extended to a month and has been observed as National Donate Life Month since then. Every day in April, people across the U.S. make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye, tissue, marrow, and blood donors and to encourage more Americans to follow their fine example.
National Blue and Green Day
During this observance developed by Donate Life America, the public is encouraged to wear blue and green, hold events and fundraisers, and partner with local organizations to spread awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. For yearly dates and resources, visit the Donate Life America website.
National Pediatric Transplant Week (last week of April National Donate Life Month)
This observance is a week at the end of National Donate Life Month that offers donation and transplantation organizations the platform to talk about the powerful message of ending the pediatric waiting list, to engage clinical partners to share their innovative work and patient stories (candidates and recipients), and to honor donor families whose children have saved and healed lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation.
July: U.S. Transplant Games (even-numbered years)
The Transplant Games are modeled after the Olympics and feature transplant recipients of all ages competing in various athletic events, illustrating the ability of transplantation to extend and enhance life. Athletes receive medals, and living donors and families of deceased donors are honored in special ceremonies for their life-enabling gifts. The National Kidney Foundation started the Games in 1990 and sponsored them every 2 years through 2010. Donate Life America and Transplant America hosted the 2014 Games which are scheduled to continue on a biennial schedule.
Second and Third Weeks of July: ECHO
Donate Life ECHO (Every Community Has Opportunity) was launched on July 7, 2015, as a new national observance to reach multicultural communities. This 2-week observance focuses on the power of sharing one’s personal decision to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor with one’s community and encourages registered donors to ask members of their personal networks and extended communities to register as donors. This observance was developed by Donate Life America and the Association of Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation.
August 1 – 7: National Minority Donor Awareness Week
National Minority Donor Awareness Week was founded by the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program to bring heightened awareness to donation and transplantation in minority communities. Outreach activities during this week include events to bring donation messages to minority communities, encourage donor registration and promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation. Observances have included prayer breakfasts, health walks, and donor drives.
November: National Marrow Awareness Month
A special nationwide effort to recruit volunteer marrow, blood stem cell, and umbilical cord blood donors and to increase patient awareness of the option of unrelated transplantation. More about bone marrow and cord blood donation >
November: National Donor Sabbath
On Friday through Sunday, two weekends before Thanksgiving, faith communities across the Nation focus on the critical need for organs, tissues, marrow, and blood, and their life-enhancing capabilities. Faith leaders and donation professionals lead discussions of issues concerning donation, and faith communities sponsor donation awareness activities, donor registrations, and speakers during this 3-day celebration of life. More about National Donor Sabbath >