The "Breathe for Charles" Campaign
The Arnold & Itkin Foundation's Organ Donor Program
In the early morning hours of January 2016, Charles was at work in a Texas refinery when a massive fire broke out. Flames ravaged Charles’ body and scorched his lungs. The burns covering his body were life-altering, but the irreparable damage to his lungs was life-threatening. Fortunately for Charles, he was a match with an organ donor, and a prompt lung transplant saved his life. Even though he faces a long, painful recovery, Charles is grateful that he has the opportunity to heal and watch his children grow.
Charles counts himself lucky because he knows that many others are not so fortunate. More than 119,000 men, women, and children are currently on the national transplant list. Sadly, 22 people die each day while waiting for a match with a life-saving donor.
Turning Sympathy into Donor Pledges
Jason Itkin says the Arnold & Itkin Foundation's support of the organ donor program grew from an idea one of their clients had.
“He came to us and asked if we could help him spread the word about the
organ donor shortage,” Jason said. “And of course we were going to help.”
While the transplant waiting list continues to grow annually, the number of donors has plateaued. The solution to the shortage is relatively simple: more people need to sign up to be organ donors. Charles wants to use his experience to raise awareness of the growing need for organ donors, and he has asked us for help. The Arnold & Itkin Foundation has sponsored the BreatheForCharles.com website to raise awareness for the increasing need for donors.
Breathe for Charles uses his story to encourage others to become organ donors. Knowing that his tragedy will help others has given Charles a sense of purpose that proved just as important in his recovery as the medical attention he has received. We’ve found it’s important for survivors to know that their suffering is not in vain—that it stands for hope for others to overcome tragedy. That philosophy directs all of the projects we choose to take on.