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Gift of Life Movie Highlights Need for Organ Donors

MADISON - What do UW Health, WPS Insurance, Charter Media and organ donations have in common? A movie, of course!

The Gift of Life, a 20-minute film that works to educate viewers about organ donation, was created through collaboration between these three entities. The film, which was originally available via Charter Media's on-demand service, features three people's experiences with donation and transplantation. Erin Davisson, liver recipient and longtime anchor at Green Bay's WFRV-TV, hosts the film.

The film opens with Davisson on the field at Camp Randall Stadium, home of the UW Badger football team. Davisson states that "every seat in the stadium, and the entire field, would be filled by the people in the U.S. currently waiting for a transplant." Nationally, almost 100,000 people are waiting with almost 1,500 people in Wisconsin's waitlist.

Those staggering facts are one reason the UW Health Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) works to educate people about donation. The OPO, which manages the majority of the organ donation in Wisconsin, uses multiple methods to educate people about donation. The Gift of Life film was a new opportunity for the OPO to get the message to a wide audience.

"When Charter presented their affordable on-demand option to us, we knew it would be an excellent tool for us to use to help people understand organ donation," said Trey Schwab, OPO Outreach Coordinator. "People understand the concept of donation, but through the people in the film, who are all recipients or donor family members from Wisconsin, we help people understand how donation saves lives, and why they should talk about it with their family."

Almost 200,000 Charter cable users have access to the on-demand feature. Charter Media produced the film and six commercials that encourage people to view the on-demand film. WPS Insurance, who has a long history of supporting organ donation through their ORGANize to Share Lives campaign, joined the partnership when they donated funds to buy airtime for the commercials. Charter tripled WPS' donation, paying for thousands of hours of commercial airtime each month.

In the first three months of airing the film, 22,500 people went to donatelifewisconsin.org to share their intent to donate.

 

"Typically, we would see an average of 5,000 new donors listed in a three-month period," says Schwab. "So we know the film is effective."

For more information on the ORGANize to Share Lives campaign, you can visit wpsic.com.