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The gift of life


Leanne Dimaio knows first-hand how something good can come from a circumstance as devastating as losing a loved one. Last fall, her husband, Nick, died from a sudden illness while at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. It was a tragic event for Leanne and her family, but when they learned that Nick was a registered organ donor, it became an opportunity to help others.

“One of the most surprising things about the whole process of organ donation was that it wasn’t as quick as we thought it would be. For my family and me, we had extra time to grieve with my husband before he passed. That time was nice to have and gave us a greater sense of closure,” says Leanne. “It also blessed us with getting to meet and interact with a lot of amazing people in healthcare. I learned a lot while I was there.”

More than 5,700 patients in New England are waiting for an organ transplant. Celebrated in April each year, National Donate Life Month features an entire month of activities encouraging Americans to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is a proud supporter of organ and tissue donation in our community. Each April we call awareness to the need during National Donate Life Month, when we celebrate those who have received transplants, recognize those who continue to wait, honor donors and donor families, and thank registered donors for giving hope.

In 2018, more than 36,500 transplants brought renewed life to patients and their families throughout the United States, and we can do more. About one person per hour—about 8,000 patients each year—die because the organs they need are not donated in time.

It’s not just about organ donation. By registering, you could help someone in need of a corneal eye or tissue donation. The surgical need for donated tissue is steadily rising, and one single tissue donor can help more than 75 people.

“Many people register as organ donors when they get or renew their driver’s license,” says Marc D. Edelman, senior vice president of Operations, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. “Check your wallet. If you haven’t signed up yet, I encourage you to do so today, and help our neighbors and community members who may benefit from your intent to donate.”

Why should you register?
Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list, and 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time. Most people are also unaware that virtually everyone, regardless of past medical history and age, has the potential to save or enhance a life through organ and tissue donation.

Leanne reiterates the importance of organ donation, “Just because someone dies doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. You have a gift you can give other people whether it is the gift of an organ, tissue, eyes, or research. Moreover, now I’m much more informed on this topic and can go on and try to help others by sharing my story,” she adds.

To learn more or to register, visit