Tampa, Fla., October 22, 2008 – On Tuesday, October 14, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Congressional Gift of Life Medal Act (HR 7198). The bill, introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), creates a commemorative medal for organ donors and their families, recognizing the brave act of organ donation. The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) was the only organization that sent letters to all Members of Congress urging the creation of the medal.
A Congressional Medal is an award bestowed by the U.S. Congress and is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States. The award is given to individuals who perform an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity and national interest of the nation.
Rep. Tubbs-Jones died August 20 of a brain aneurysm. At her bequest, her organs and tissues were donated for transplantation. Rep. Tubbs-Jones was a strong advocate for organ donation and worked on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. Her work on the committee shined a light on the need for more education about kidney disease and minority organ donation. Currently, there are more than 100,000 people on the organ donation waiting list. African Americans make up 23 percent of the individuals on the national waiting list.
“Representative Tubbs-Jones dedicated her life to public service and the kidney community was especially dear to her heart,” said AAKP President Roberta Wager, RN, MSN. “This medal is a symbol of the tremendous work she’s done on behalf of millions of Americans who will benefit from organ donation.” It is believed as many as 58 people will benefit from Representative Tubbs-Jones organ donation. AAKP would like to commend Rep. Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Camp (R-MI) for their work in getting the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Congressional Gift of Life Medal Act passed into law.
Patients interested receiving the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Congressional Gift of Life Medal should contact their Congressional Representative and asked to be considered for the award. For more information on organ donation or the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), visit www.aakp.org or call (800) 749-AAKP.
AAKP is the voluntary, patient organization, which for more than 35 years, has been dedicated to improving the lives of fellow kidney patients and their families by helping them deal with the physical, emotional and social impact of kidney disease. The programs offered by AAKP inform and inspire patients and their families to better understand their condition, adjust more readily to their circumstances, and assume more normal, productive lives in their communities.