The University of Southern Mississippi College of Health Ambassadors are once again competing in the organ donation challenge sponsored by the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA). On Sept. 15, the College of Health Ambassadors will begin their third annual organ donation challenge.
In 2013, they competed against Mississippi State University and lost the challenge by just three people. In 2012, they came in first place against MSU.
In 2014, Southern Miss will compete against both Mississippi State University and The University of Mississippi to see who can have the most members of their community sign up to become organ donors.
“We try to promote, through our college, the importance and how vital it is to be an organ donor,” said Ebony Core, a senior department of public health major and MORA committee member.
MORA is a non-profit agency that stands as the most prominent organ procurement organization in the state.
The challenge has added a new rule this year. With the point system, 75 percent of the points each team receives will come from adding brand new organ donors and 25 percentof the points will come from people who re-register to become organ donors. The topic of becoming an organ donor can be a very sensitive subject to many people. “We want to inform people that they won’t hunt you down and kill you for your organs,”Core said.
MORA hosted a training session with the ambassadors Sept. 14 to inform them of ways to properly discuss the issue of becoming an organ donor. The ambassadors do not want to have a pushy, eager attitude when talking to students and others in the community about such a sensitive subject.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and can save even more lives through tissue donations. The COH Ambassadors also work to inform students and the Hattiesburg community about organ donation.
“One person can change the course of someone else’s destiny,” said Alanna Fopiano, a senior nutrition and dietetics major and president of the COH Ambassadors.
The organ donation challenge will last until Oct. 17. The group will have their first tabling event Sept. 15. The table will have fun freebies as well as information regarding organ donation and the benefits of becoming an organ donor. Fopiano said they welcome volunteers to help distribute information and spread the word about the challenge and organ donation.
For more information about MORA, visit www.msora.org.