February 14, 2019
On Thursday, I was scheduled to meet with Connie Boatman-Tate, the director of Life Goes On (the organ donor & tissue program under Secretary White’s administration). There, we discussed what my role would be for the next two and a half months – we decided that the end date would be April 30th.
After school, I put on my nice clothes and drove over to her office in Chicago. To my dismay, I encountered heavy traffic and had trouble finding a nearby parking spot. I arrived twenty minutes late. Great way to start off an internship, right?
When I arrived, Connie, to my surprise, used my mistake as an opportunity to learn. She lead me to her office and sat me down. Every minute, she explained, counts. Every minute can save a life. Don’t believe it? 20 people die in the U.S. every single day waiting for an organ transplant. That’s nearly a person every, single, hour. If I were a paramedic driving an ambulance and showed up to a hospital 20 minutes late, the patient in need of a life-saving organ could’ve died. Trust me, I’ll never make that mistake again.
The mission of LifeGoesOn is to increase the number of people on Illinois organ & tissue donation registry. This means that I will be focusing on outreach and promoting the registry. I’ll be working with several regional coordinators across the state, such as Jan Eschen, Margaret Pearson, and Dan Lietz, as well as traveling with them across the state to help promote the registry. This means that I will attend community events, school presentations, donor drives, and other junctures. I’ll also assist in writing newsletters, creating and analyzing reports, as well as attend meetings and press conferences.
During the months of February and March, my opportunities will primarily consist of blood drives, school presentation, and church meetings. As we approach April, the national donor month, I will be attending many more events.
As the internship comes to a start, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for something in my life. This, I’m sure, will help forge the person I am and help develop my skills of communication, time management, interaction with adults in a professional atmosphere, as well a better understanding of organ donation. Public policy is a large part of my dream profession and I can’t wait.