Free Ice Cream for Organ Donors on May 3

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Organ Donation Orange Dot; Free Ice Cream for Organ DonorsMadison- When does an orange donor dot equal a free ice cream cone? On Saturday, May 3 at any Wisconsin Dairy Queen Restaurant, that's when.
From Ashland to Beloit and Hudson to Manitowoc, customers sporting a license or state I.D. that includes a donor dot, or who affix a new dot, will receive a free cone.

Following in the footsteps of a similar effort in the Green Bay area, this year the dot-for-a-cone program will be offered in all Wisconsin Dairy Queen Restaurants. In-store promotional materials, supplied by Dairy Queen, will remind hungry customers of the opportunity. Chris Gerend, business consultant for the American Dairy Queen Corporation, facilitated the effort.

"Store operators were excited about the idea," says Gerend. "Last year, when I was explaining the business reasons for doing this type of event, the store operators cut me off, and reminded me that the business part of this was secondary to doing the right thing. We had 100 percent store participation last time."
Taking the program statewide in 2008 was an idea store operators embraced.
Efforts to increase organ and tissue donation rates in Wisconsin are becoming more visible through partnerships with businesses like Dairy Queen.

"These types of promotions really help to get the message out," said Martha Mallon, president of Donate Life Wisconsin, a non-profit coalition of Wisconsin's organ procurement organizations, tissue banks, Eye Bank and others. Adds Mallon, "It causes what we refer to as the 'ripple effect' when these people talk to their family and friends and carry the donation message across generations."

"The Got Your Dot? message and partnerships like this have been a big part of the success behind the increase in donor designations in Wisconsin," adds Mallon.

Wisconsin recently passed the 50 percent mark of people in the state who have indicated their wish to be an organ and tissue donor.

"But," adds Mallon, "there is so much more we can do." States like Utah and Oklahoma are closer to the 70 percent mark. "That means they're able to save more lives through transplantation."

There are currently almost 1,500 people in Wisconsin waiting for an organ transplant. Last year, 90 Wisconsinites died because they didn’t get an organ in time.

Visit Donate Life Wisconsin to learn more about donation, and to share your wish to be a donor. Click on the donor dot, send a quick email to the DMV, fill out the back side of your driver's license, and wait for your donor dot to arrive in the mail. Or, visit a Dairy Queen Restaurant on May 3, and toast your new dot with an ice cream cone.

Date Published: 04/24/2008

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