Volunteers contribute more than 350 hours in 2008

DebbieDebbie at the Denver Diabetes Expo.

January 13, 2009—If it weren’t for volunteers in 2008, the Foundation’s staff wouldn’t have been able to reach out to the community at five key events, wouldn’t have had the time to record nearly 4,000 petition signatures, and would probably still be stuffing, labeling, and mailing the 2,635 annual reports that were sent in November. It was a busy year!

The volunteer program experienced great growth in 2008 by gaining 30 new volunteers—a 120 percent increase in the volunteer pool. Thanks to the support and determination of the program’s now 50 active volunteers, over 350 hours of volunteer work was completed last year, a total in-kind value of $7,143 to the Foundation. Executive Director Heidi Heltzel relates,

Brandon and HeidiBrandon and Heidi at the Colfax Marathon Sports & Fitness Expo.

“We are lucky to have volunteers who are so passionate and who are such great spokespersons of our cause and of our Foundation. Our volunteers give the American Transplant Foundation strength, and we’re very grateful for their enthusiasm and commitment.”

Last year, recipients, living donors, and donor family members alike joined the volunteer program to make a difference by sharing their stories and recruiting community members to join the registry. Others had no personal connection with donation or transplantation; they simply support the cause and wanted to spread the word about the Foundation in the community. Says Cara Faliano, a new volunteer in 2008,

CaraCara the morning of the Colorado Colfax Marathon.

“I like volunteering for the American Transplant Foundation because I know I’m supporting a good cause and it’s rewarding. Other causes are good because they help people, but with the Foundation, I know that we’re actually helping to save lives.”

For many volunteers, the Foundation’s program not only provided an outlet for doing good in the community in 2008, but it allowed them to meet and socialize with new and diverse groups of people.

“When I was cutting [timing] chips off of racers’ shoes [at the Colfax Marathon], I met really fun and inspirational people,” said Amy Faliano. “It was inspiring to see so many people finish a race, especially the transplant recipients who ran in the marathon relay with ATF.”

Leon and KevinLeon and Kevin helping to mail the2007 Annual Report.

As the American Transplant Foundation is a small and relatively young non-profit organization, volunteers receive great opportunities to get involved. Last year’s volunteer accomplishments included providing support at the Colorado Colfax Marathon, the Donor Dash, and the

Crosby, Stills, & Nash benefit concert; writing transplant stories that were added to the website; recording nearly 4,000 petition signatures for an organ donor specialty license plate in Colorado; and mailing the Foundation’s very first annual report. No matter what the assignment, each volunteer task was a great help and moved projects forward to help the Foundation achieve its mission.

Even if 2008 was a great year for the American Transplant Foundation’s volunteer program, 2009 should be even more successful. Volunteers will still be offered opportunities to help with day-to-day tasks, but they will also have the chance to get involved in the organization of a major new fundraiser: forming a charity cycling team at June’s Elephant Rock Ride in Castle Rock, Colorado. Katie Cicerchi, who heads up the volunteer program, hopes that volunteers will be eager to take on an even more vital role in the institution beginning this month.

Rachid and CatherineRachid and Catherine at the Donor Dash.

“Volunteers already provide invaluable services to the Foundation by supporting us with administrative tasks and offering support at events, but they will receive even more opportunities to help the Foundation this year, especially in planning and executing our new fundraiser. Many volunteers want to do more, and I hope to make this a possibility.”

Volunteers are asked to keep an eye out for volunteer requests and an invitation to the volunteer orientation session, likely to be held in February. Volunteer committees for the new fundraiser will also be decided within the first two months of 2009. If you’d like to learn more before then, email Katie at katie@americantransplantfoundation.org.

The Board of Directors and staff of the American Transplant Foundation would like to thank each and every volunteer for their continuing support and service. Here’s to a successful 2009!

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