Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White recently honored the winners of his "Be a Hero" organ/tissue donor campaign, which provided students at state community colleges the opportunity to create their own campaigns and earn community service hours while promoting the organ/tissue donor registry.
The contest began on Feb. 17 and featured 21 Illinois community college institutions. The top three schools were recognized at a May 28 reception at the secretary of state's office in Springfield.
Elgin Community College placed first, Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield placed second and Olney Central College in Olney placed third.
ECC and Lincoln Land Community College will each receive a paid internship for one of its students through Donate Life Illinois Partners, a group of organizations that works with the secretary of state's organ/tissue donor program.
Olney Central College will receive an unpaid internship for one of its students through one of the partners as well.
"I want to congratulate Elgin Community College for their registration efforts and creative superhero campaign," White said. "Elgin's 'Be a Hero' team consists of true heroes. By registering donors and bringing awareness to the program they are saving lives."
"It has been an absolutely amazing experience for us to be chosen as the first place winners," said Candi Hopman, president of ECC's association of nursing students and one of the organizers of the campaign. "I poured my heart and soul into this project this semester."
Hopman said 121 people signed up to be donors this year, a number which she hopes will increase next year.
How to register as an organ and tissue donor:
Illinois residents can join the donor registry through the secretary of state's organ and tissue Donor Program at LifeGoesOn.com, by calling (800) 210-2106 or by visiting their local Driver Services facility.
Donate Life Illinois partners include the American Liver Foundation-Illinois, Biological Resource Center of Illinois, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, Saving Sight, Illinois Eye-Bank, Illinois Secretary of State organ/Tissue Donor Program, LifeSource, Mid-America Transplant Services, Rock River Valley Blood Center, and National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.