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Celebrating the Greatest Gift this holiday season

December 15, 2023, Richmond, VA

Join the fourth annual National Tree of Life event

Donate Life America (DLA) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) invite the public to join the National Tree of Life virtual event to honor the gift of life and remember the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families.

On Dec.  19, at 6:30 p.m. ET, the National Tree of Life event will honor the legacy of organ donors in each state who gave the gift of life in 2023 and celebrate the tens of thousands of lives they saved. The event will be livestreamed on Donate Life America’s Facebook page.

As part of this year’s event, you’ll hear from:

  • Donate Life Youth Ambassador Sabine Balentine, who promotes organ donation and registration in honor of the heart and lung donor who saved her father, Jeff
  • Heart recipient Dr. Lonnie Thompson, who has spent the past 50 years climbing the world’s tallest mountains to bring back ancient ice from the glaciers to learn about the climate of the past. Lonnie’s journey, made possible by a donor, is featured in the documentary film Canary.
  • Donna Murrell’s daughter, Natasha, who gave the gift of a kidney to Ashley Schmitt. Ashley’s family is at the heart of the new film Ordinary Angels, being released in February. Ashley had the opportunity to meet Donna, and they shared their connection and journey together.

The virtual event is an opportunity to recognize the lives and gifts of more than 21,000 selfless organ donors – and thousands of cornea and tissue donors – from 2023 and their courageous families, while also celebrating the lives of recipients across the country. Each state’s donor numbers will be shared during the event as volunteers with connections to the transplant community hang ornaments on trees that represent the trees of life.

“We are thankful for donors and their families every day of the year. That feeling is heightened during this season of giving: For organ donation is truly the greatest gift a person can give another,” said UNOS CEO Maureen McBride, Ph.D.  “Our hope is that this ceremony can be a source of solace for families and friends who are grieving the loss of a loved one, and for all who may experience a greater sense of loss during the holidays.”

David Fleming, Donate Life America’s president and CEO, said, “We invite everyone across the country whose lives have been touched by donation and transplantation, as well as the dedicated organ donation and transplant professional communities, to join as we honor organ donors and their families and as we celebrate their roles in making our shared lifesaving missions possible.”

Watch the event on the National Tree of Life Facebook event page:

For more information on how to register to be an organ donor, visit:

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) serves as the national donation and transplant system, under contract with the federal government.

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