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Press Center > News > 2016 > HGH EMS Rescue Joins 'Indy 500' Campaign to Promote Organ Donation

HGH EMS Rescue Joins 'Indy 500' Campaign to Promote Organ Donation

When the checkered flag comes down for the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday, it will not only launch America’s most famous car race—but a special campaign locally that is designed to save lives.

This is the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, and Stefan Wilson will be driving the No. 25 Driven2SaveLives–KVRT Chevrolet. Stefan is partnering with Indiana Donor Network on Driven2SaveLives, a campaign to promote organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation in honor of his late older brother, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.

“Like so many other drivers, I grew up dreaming about the Indianapolis 500 and it’s all I’ve worked toward for the past few years. Justin raced in the 500 eight times and it was a dream to join him on the starting grid and race against him. I just never anticipated a situation where Justin wouldn’t be there with me,” said Stefan, a U.K. native who now calls Indianapolis home.

Justin died in August 2015 from injuries he sustained in a race crash at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. He had previously registered his decision to become an organ donor and had discussed it with his wife. That selfless decision meant Justin saved five lives.

Now a registered donor himself, Stefan and Indiana Donor Network hope to get 2,500 people across the country to register their decision to donate through Driven2SaveLives.

That’s where HGH EMS Rescue comes in.

Joel Hochhalter, the president and managing member of MedX AirOne, LLC, which partners with Humboldt General Hospital to provide air medical transport, is friends with the chief operating officer of the Indiana Donor Network.

“When Steve Johnson approached me with the idea of using our resources to highlight organ donation, I didn’t hesitate,” said Hochhalter. “It goes hand in hand with our mission to save lives.”

“Hundreds of miles may separate Indiana Donor Network from MedX AirOne and Humboldt General Hospital,” said Johnson, “but we all have one common mission and that is to save lives.”

He continued, “Not only has the Driven2SaveLives campaign elevated the donation and transplantation conversation to a national level but it has also brought our field together across the country in a new and exciting way.”

HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer said HGH AirOne and HGH EMS ambulances will now bear the Driven2SaveLives logo. “This will serve as a daily reminder to us that death can bring life to others,” he said.

Songer said the HGH EMS family has a special connection to organ donation already, as one of the crew’s paramedics was the recipient of a kidney/pancreas transplant several years ago.

“A young person tragically passed away,” said Songer, “but the decision to share those organs saved our paramedic’s life, and we will forever be grateful.”

Hochhalter and Songer said this weekend—Memorial weekend—is a perfect time to register to become an organ and tissue donor.

“We hope that residents of our community can be some of those 2,500 donors who will commemorate this special weekend and that special race,” said Songer.

Hochhalter added, “We are in the business of saving lives, so this campaign is one we are happy to share.”

FACTS:

  • More than 120,000 people nationwide are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants.
  • In the time it takes four cars to complete a four-lap qualifying attempt at IMS, another person is added to the national transplant waiting list.
  • Each day, 22 people on average in the U.S. die because a donated organ wasn’t made available in time.
    • That’s equivalent to the first seven rows of cars in the Indy 500 starting lineup.
  • It takes less time to fill out a donor registration form than it does for an IndyCar driver to complete one lap around IMS.
  • Approximately 90 percent of Americans support organ donation, yet only 50 percent are registered.
  • You can register to become an organ and tissue donor by visiting http://driven2savelives.org/.

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About Indiana Donor Network

Indiana Donor Network is one of 58 designated organ recovery organizations in the United States and coordinates organ, tissue and eye donation throughout the state. Indiana Donor Network is devoted to public education about donation and transplantation with the goal of saving and enhancing more lives. For more information about Indiana Donor Network or to register your decision to become a donor, visit IndianaDonorNetwork.org.

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