The History of 8lives.org

Hello and welcome to our first blog asking you to Support Organ Donor Registration.

8lives.org was created around a kitchen table in Diamondhead Mississippi in December of 2006, when Christian, his sister Alyssa, and a few friends gathered around as they tried to come up with ideas that could possibly help save their mother, my sisters’ life.

Their mom, a teacher at Hancock High, was in Tulane University Hospital waiting for a liver transplant, a year post Katrina, and was slipping fast. Needless to say, the stakes were high.

In an effort to help increase her odds for a transplant, we decided to try and help raise awareness on our own as quickly as possible. So a friend designed a billboard to put up in the New Orleans area and 8 billboards were donated.

That evening Christian, Bobby, Jacob, and Alyssa sat at the kitchen table trying to figure out how they were going to get people information to register to donate. We needed a website, and we needed it now, so Jacob logged in and created a site with Nearly Free Speech.org. “We need a domain name” and Alyssa shouts, “8lives”. Wow, that’s perfect. “Should it be 8lives.com?” Jake, “it’s available, but .org means more.” “Agreed.” And he registered the domain name, 8lives.org and was printed on the billboards.

We had one false alarm that drove us to the hospital on Thanksgiving day, but after that, no word. Madonna died on December 15, 2006, ten days after being admitted, 7 days after the billboards went up, and only 2 months after being listed on the transplant waiting list.

That same week, in honor of Christian and Alyssa’s mom, both their high schools, Our Lady Academy and St. Stanislaus, had chosen organ donation as their annual charity fundraisers. On the day of her mothers funeral, Alyssa went to the school first with the posters and to make sure things were set up right for the event, and then back in time for the service.

It’s that kind of inner strength that helps push our mission forward. We’ve learned it’s important to put your energy in a positive direction in a time of crisis. Like the mother I later met who after losing her son and donating his organs, tirelessly worked to get organ donation put on the California schools curriculum, and the Governor signed the bill last September.

And another mother who bravely told her story of how after losing her son at 18, she somehow found donating his organs gave purpose to his young life and added to his legacy. And so I am reminded to continue to seek the good that is possible through organ donation.

Another big lesson learned, is don’t wait to the last minute to join a cause. Todd Beamer, hero of high-jacked flight #93, had less than 5 minutes to make the brave decision, that if he was going to die, he was going to at least save lives on his way out, diverting Flt# 93 from it’s original White House target. Todd has come to symbolize heroism, self-sacrifice and initiative in a tough situation. But some people won’t get 5 minutes to make that brave decision. You need to make it now.

Today is the 5th anniversary of 8lives’ first fundraiser on 8/8/08, and with new inspiration from Christian and Alyssa, we are stepping up our efforts to increase organ donor registration beginning with the launch of the new website, 8lives.org. Just scroll over the links to see how you can register now, to save a life later. “Let’s Roll”

Mariann Kwiat
Founder, The Action Awareness Agency, NFP
8lives.org