The Gift of Life Challenge began in 2000 to raise awareness about organ donation.
The Gift of Life Challenge began in 2000 to raise awareness about organ donation.

The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky will compete for the biggest number of new names added to the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry during the 17th Annual Gift of Life Challenge.

The Gift of Life Challenge, an initiative of the Donate Life Kentucky Coalition, began in 2000 to build awareness about organ donation and has since added thousands of names to the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. Every name added to the Kentucky Donor Registry gives hope to more than 116,000 Americans and over 1,000 Kentuckians in need on the transplant waiting list.

Louisville has the highest concentration of donor families and organ transplant recipients.

“We’re so pleased that the state’s biggest universities understand the importance of organ donation and getting their students involved in something bigger than themselves,” said Crysta McGee, community educator of KODA, and UofL alumna. “This challenge underscores their commitment to giving hope to those waiting.”

University of Louisville supporters can sign up during activities on campus and when joining the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry online.  Those registering can choose “UofL Gift of Life” under the tab titled “the following influenced my decision to be an organ donor.”

UofL will have several activities and in-person opportunities to register including a blood drive, hosted by UofL’s Trew Friends chapter, on Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Red Barn. The Heather Trew Foundation for Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of donation among individuals of all ages. Appointments for the blood drive can be scheduled online with the sponsor code “uoflcards.”

“You have the power to help save someone’s life,” said Tonia Thomas, advisor of the Trew Friends chapter at UofL. “The Gift of Life Challenge and Red Cross Blood Drive is offering you two ways that you can help save lives; by donating blood and by registering to be an organ donor when you pass away. Your contribution can truly make a difference in someone else’s life.“

The challenge runs through Dec. 1. The winning school will receive a trophy at halftime of the UofL vs. UK men’s basketball game on Dec. 29 at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

To join the challenge, go online