By Dawn M Chiossi
Morristown High School Graduate Amelia Langan has certainly been busy. Thanks to her recent activities in raising awareness about organ and tissue donation, she founded a Donate Life club at her school and was one of six students awarded a scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year from the New Jersey Sharing Network.
The New Jersey Sharing Network is committed to saving and enhancing lives through organ donation. Giving a second chance at life, organ and tissue donation does just that. Just making that one decision can save lives, and make a huge, enriching impact on the lives of others.
As Langan discovered, it can also do the same thing for the self.
Like most people, Langan became aware of the importance of organ donation only when she took her driver’s education class in school. In hearing speaker– and liver transplant recipient–Michele Dabal, she became aware of how organ donation can impact and benefit others.
“She cleared up a lot of misconceptions and concerns that people have regarding organ donation,” Langan explains. “Hearing her story on how organ donation helped her to survive really resonated with me,” Langan shares.
Langan was so inspired by Dabal, she began to do her own research regarding organ donation, about how many lives could be changed for the better. It soon became a cause she became passionate about.
“One person can save up to eight lives with organ donation, and up to fifty with tissue donation,” she enthuses.
Langan was awarded the scholarship for diligently volunteering with the New Jersey Sharing Network, devoting an impressive 80 hours to volunteering. Additionally, she raised awareness regarding organ and tissue donation for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
Wanting to inspire others regarding organ donation, Langan founded a Donate Life club at her high school. The club came into existence during her junior year of 2017.
Describing Morristown’s Donate Life club as a small one of approximately 20-25 members, they do so much. Members volunteer with the New Jersey Sharing Network. Additionally, the club lined up speakers for people to hear inspiring stories regarding their organ and tissue donations.
For Langan, the goal was to get people talking about organ donation and to start a conversation about it. The club did this in a variety of ways.
“This is such an easy way to make a positive impact in our country. Organ donation affects everyone everywhere (even globally). It is so widespread,” she asserts. Through her passion and research, Langan and the club discovered that in Morristown alone, approximately 21 people were on the list looking for a transplant. “Everyone knows someone affected.”
Although Langan is a Freshman at Boston’s Northeastern University and is already fully committed to majoring in behavioral neuroscience and minoring in biochemistry to go into the field of research for cancer, she still is helping in the cause close to her heart.
She has extended the parameters of the club, creating a video explaining and inspiring other high school students how they can help in the cause of organ donation and create a Donate Life club of their own.
Langan’s excitement to inspire others to make a difference through organ and tissue donation has even extended to her sister and her sister’s best friend. Both are going to take up the mantle of Morristown’s Donate Life club, to put their own ideas to it.
For Langan, everything is connected and stems from the information and inspiration she received from Driver’s Ed class. “I was so surprised to receive the scholarship,” she shares. “I didn’t think I had a chance of winning. It was Michele who persuaded me to apply. If I hadn’t met her, I wouldn’t have been inspired to do any of this. It wasn’t just me, (being awarded the scholarship or success of the club) so many people were a beacon of encouragement. From Michele, to Brooke, and Daniel Sarnowski at New Jersey Sharing Network, to so many others behind the scenes. I’m very grateful.”