UK, U of L compete for organ donors

By Laura Wood

If UK and the University of Louisville did not have enough sports rivalries, a different competition has risen — one that could save hundreds of lives.

The two schools have joined with the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates for its annual UK-U of L Gift of Life Challenge, which will run until the end of December. The school with the winning number of registered organ donors will receive a trophy at the UK-U of L basketball game Jan. 5.

In its seventh year, the Gift of Life Challenge was created to raise awareness on organ and tissue donation. Keeping college students in mind, KODA created a new donor registration procedure for students.

“We decided there needed to be a faster way to register, and also a registry that was in an actual system for verification,” said Charlotte Long, public coordinator for KODA.

“In previous years, an organ donor was signified as having a drivers license with an orange sticker,” she said. “There was no documentation of the agreement, and in many cases, an organ donor was disregarded because the license was not present.”

Long and her colleagues devised an online registry (www. where people can access donation forms. Students who want to become an organ and tissue donor can fill out an online form at that Web site. To become an organ and tissue donor and contribute to the competition, students can fill out an online form and select “University of Kentucky — Gift of Life Challenge” under the reasons to become a donor.

Students can also sign up at the UK-University of Tennessee football game Nov. 24, where volunteers will set up a tent in the RV lot in front of the stadium to collect donor signatures.

KODA officials hope the friendly competition will boost organ donations and help save the lives of the thousands of Kentuckians waiting on transplants.

“This holiday season, what bigger gift could we share than the gift of life?” Long said.