CHICAGO — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says he hopes more locals will register to be organ donors.
Unveiling a new ad campaign Tuesday, White said there are currently 4,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list in Illinois. About 300 die each year waiting for an organ transplant.
Marking the beginning of National Donate Life Month in April, Phillip Hanks says it’s an honor to be the face of the Organ/Tissue Donation Campaign.
“Thanks to a decision that a complete stranger made, Security White, his office and staff, and all the doctors and nurses that worked so hard, my life goes on and I have a second chance,” Hanks said.
In 2019, tragedy struck. Hanks found out he needed extensive surgery that required five organ transplants.
“I received a kidney, pancreas, upper and lower intestine, and a stomach,” revealed Hanks, the fifth person across the US to receive the multi-organ transplant procedure.
“I ask when you’re alive and well, give blood. When you’re no longer here, give organs, and when you do those things you made a positive impact toward society,” White said.
The Secretary of State and Hanks ask past or future donors to do their part in spreading the message.
“Without the transplant, my wife would not have a husband,” Hanks said. “My kids wouldn’t have a father, and my new granddaughter wouldn’t have a grandfather.”
White says one person can provide life or improve the quality of life for 25 individuals. As of right now, there are more than seven million registered organ donors in Illinois.