By Midwest Transplant Network
June 1, 2018
WESTWOOD, KAN. (June 1, 2018) — For Jeff Jones, president and CEO of H&R Block, wearing the green ribbon—a symbol of saying yes to organ donation—is deeply personal.
Fifteen years ago, Jeff’s father had few options left after several health conditions caused his kidneys to fail. He desperately needed a kidney transplant. Three of his siblings immediately agreed to help as living donors, and testing revealed his sister was a compatible match. His 2003 transplant was successful, and he and his sister continue to thrive today.
“When I think about the 15 years that have passed since then, it really puts the lifesaving factor into perspective,” Jones said of his father’s transplant. “Without that gift from my aunt, it’s very unlikely my dad would have been here to see my kids grow up.”
Jones, who is head of a world leader in tax preparation services and an influential figure in the Kansas City community, encourages others to join the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry in Kansas and Missouri. To honor his father and illuminate the need for all types of organ, eye and tissue donors—including living organ donors—he partnered with Midwest Transplant Network as a Green Ribbon Champion.
“The green ribbon stands for giving hope and sharing life by joining the donor registry,” explained Jan Finn, president and CEO of Midwest Transplant Network, the organ procurement organization serving Kansas and the western two-thirds of Missouri. The organization recently launched a new public awareness campaign, which will include familiar faces who, like Jeff Jones, will serve as Green Ribbon Champions.
“Green Ribbon Champions are a diverse group of local leaders and well-known personalities who are passionate about making a difference in their communities by promoting the power of organ donation,” said Finn. “We are thrilled that Jeff Jones agreed to share his family’s story and engage his wide network of influence as our first Green Ribbon Champion.”
Starting today, the public will begin seeing Jeff Jones in his role as a Green Ribbon Champion in a variety of places across the region and online. Viewers can watch Jeff tell his story in a video featured on ShareLifeMidwest.com, where they can also join the state’s donor registry online (a process that typically takes only a minute to complete).
As a Green Ribbon Champion, Jones inspires others to take one simple action: join your state’s Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. He also hopes to build awareness for living donation, which provides the chance to help someone in need of an organ transplant while continuing to live a very full life, just as his aunt did for his father years ago.
Today, nearly 2,500 people in Kansas and Missouri are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants; a single donor can save up to eight lives and improve up to 75 more. Anyone can be a registered organ donor, regardless of age or medical history. To join the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry in Kansas or Missouri, register online or at the DMV when obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or ID card.
“Organ donation is the easiest way to save a life,” Jones said. “When I say yes as a registered organ donor, it’s personal to me because of my dad. I love the opportunity to share with others how easy it is to do, and how powerful it is to save someone’s life.”
More About Living Donations
“Living kidney donation is another way Midwest Transplant Network is addressing the critical shortage of available organs,” said Finn, explaining that patients do not have to wait on the transplant list—a wait that can sometimes take years—when they have a living donor. Research also shows that transplant recipients who receive an organ from a living donor often experience better outcomes, both in terms of how long the organ lasts and how well the body reacts to it.
“Many living donors also describe very positive emotional experiences when they see and think about the impact of their lifesaving gift,” said Finn. “All organ donors, however, can be confident their decision to say yes could one day make all the difference for someone in need.”