2020 Donate Life Rose Parade Float – Light in the Darkness

On New Year’s Day, Gladys Gonzalez of El Paso will represent Donate Life Texas on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Tune in to watch January 1st, 10 a.m. CST on ABC, NBC, Univision, HGTV, or the Hallmark Channel.

Living Life

Gladys Gonzalez has always been an outgoing and energetic individual.  She is very involved in her community with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club, the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and others. When Gladys isn’t working or volunteering her free time to her community, she loves to spend time with her family, listen to music while reading the lyrics and working out.

Life is Sweeter with Cake
Gladys was a diabetic since she was 10 years old. During her adolescence, all she wanted was to be normal.

             All I wanted was to enjoy a piece of cake at the birthday party, like the rest of the kids.   — Gladys Gonzalez

When she got to high school, she wanted to be able to run with her cross-country peers and not have to worry about her sugar dropping in the middle of the workout. She learned at a very young age that shots and poked fingers were going to be part of life, and they were. She had to check her sugar and give herself insulin shots between 3 and 5 times per day and watch her diet daily.

Life after her transplant has allowed her to live a diabetes-free life, and now, Gladys can enjoy that piece of cake.

The Gift
In her mid-20’s, she noticed that her ankles were getting swollen. After seeing her doctor, she found out that her kidneys were starting to fail. She started taking medication to slow down the deterioration of her kidneys.  By her early 30’s she had to start dialysis and the process to get on the transplant list for a kidney. Her doctors knew it would be much better for her and her new kidney if she also received a pancreas. On March 25, 2014, Gladys received her new kidney and pancreas, which transformed her life.

After 20 years of shots and 2 years of dialysis, Gladys is now healthier than ever.

          I am living a second life and I celebrate my “re-birth” every 25th of March.   — Gladys Gonzalez

Her energy and gratefulness for the second chance has driven Gladys to volunteer her time with various local associations including Southwest Transplant Alliance and Donate Life Texas. She works out 4-6 times a week and still watches what she eats.

          I can now enjoy that piece of cake without the worry of a sugar spike!   — Gladys Gonzalez

Her new life would have not been possible without the amazing gift she received. Gladys honors her donor and her donor’s family daily by taking care of the precious gift they kindly gave her.  Since 2014, Gladys dedicates her time sharing her story in her community.  She also volunteers her time with Southwest Transplant Alliance in El Paso, Texas.  Gladys is so appreciative of her donor and her donor’s family and would love to meet them one day.

Enjoy a short video of Gladys:

Check out the 2020 TV Coverage:

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DLT: Celebrating 11 Million & Counting!

Join the celebration of Life!

The Donate Life Texas donor registry is celebrating the lifesaving commitment of 11 million Texans who have now joined the donor registry.

Since it was created in 2005, the Donate Life Texas (DLT) donor registry has been steadily growing thanks to generous Texans who understand the lifesaving difference each donor makes to the lives of those in need of a transplant.  Registering with DLT provides the legal consent for donation and is an easy and convenient way for people to make their decision to donate known after they pass away.

Building anything on this scale takes the work of multitudes of dedicated people. DLT relies on several partners who each play a critical role in making donor registration easy and convenient.

Texas Lawmakers
The donor registry was created by and remains part of Texas state statutes. Since 2005, lawmakers from all over the state have supported responsible legislation that makes donor registration simple, straightforward and convenient.  Together, Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Dist. 21)  and Rep. John Zerwas M.D. (R – Dist. 28) have championed the most donor registry-related bills.

Texas Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division
Each and every Texan who applies for or renews a state driver license or ID card is given the opportunity to register with Donate Life Texas as a donor.  This single step relies on the support of thousands of DPS employees and is responsible for roughly 85% of all donor registrations.

Donor Family Members, Transplant Recipients, Living Donors & Other Advocates
From health fairs and community events to school rooms and beyond, an army of volunteer advocates are essential to educating the public about the need for donation and the importance of registration.

Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), Eye and Tissue Banks
In Texas, 15 Donate Life Texas organizations perform the organ, eye and tissue recovery procedures. These dedicated professionals are also the ones who work closely with donor families to guide them through the process of their loved one’s donation.  LifeGift, Southwest Transplant Alliance and Texas Organ Sharing Alliance are founding members of the Donate Life Texas registry.

The Texas Transplantation Society
Each day, transplant centers across Texas are recommending increasing numbers of patients for transplants, giving these medical professionals a unique and personal perspective of the rising demand for donor organs.  The Texas Transplantation Society is a professional organization that serves as a resource and voice for the medical transplantation community statewide.  The TTS has been instrumental in developing the registry’s framework and continues to be an invaluable supporter of donor registration to this day.

11 million registered Texans is a lifesaving start.

In the first half of this year, 564 people have received organ transplants thanks to registered donors in Texas and thousands more have been given the gift of sight through cornea and ocular tissue transplants.  And, each year in the U.S., more than a million people receive donor tissue for a wide variety of medical needs ranging from orthopedic surgery to burn recovery.

Having 11 million registered Texans helps make these medical miracles possible, but we still have more to do.  With more people registered than ever before, many ask why the organ shortage continues. Unfortunately, the demand for transplants is rising faster than the number of donated organs, but not for the reasons you might think.

On the demand side, the growing prevalence of diabetes and heart disease have increased the number of people added to the transplant waiting list.  Thanks to medical advances, transplants have become far more common and have shown to be reliable treatments for more kinds of conditions than in the past.

On the donation side, very few things prevent organ donation, but how a person dies often makes donation impossible.  In fact, only about 1-2% of people die in ways that allow donation – causes such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury.  Of the 178,000+ people who passed away in Texas in 2013, only about 3,000 met the initial criteria to be considered for organ donation.  This number then drops even further if consent is denied or if the organs are not clinically viable for transplantation.

Registry Growth

Growth was slow in the registry’s early years, but a streamlined process started in 2011 and accelerated registry growth, registering nearly 9 million Texans as of September 30, 2019.

*chart data updated as of September 30, 2019

Donor registration matters!

Registering with Donate Life Texas records a person’s legal decision to be a donor so it can be known by the right people at the right time to save lives.  In the simplest terms, donor registration helps ensure that every transplantable organ can become a gift of life.

So, how can you help?

  • Register!
  • Talk with your friends and family about donation and encourage them to register.
  • Find a Donate Life Texas Organization in your area and become a volunteer advocate.
  • Make a financial gift to support the Donate Life Texas donor registry.
  • Share your Donate Life Story on the Donate Life Texas website.
  • When applying for or renewing your driver license or ID, tell the DPS office staff why donation is important to you.

Most of all, THANK YOU for registering to Donate Life!  Each of us is one in 11 million, but to the person waiting for a transplant, a Donor Hero is their one hope for a second chance at life.

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