Golf News for Thursday, April 3, 2014 | Charity

Donate Life America's third year of "Play Through with Erik Compton"

To celebrate April as National Donate Life Month, Donate Life America (DLA) just launched the third year of the "Play Through with Erik Compton" campaign in Houston. Over the past two years, Donate Life America has partnered with PGA Tour golfer and two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton on the educational campaign, which is supported by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. "Play Through" aims to raise public awareness of organ donation and urge Americans to become organ donors.

"I've received the extraordinary gift of life twice," said Compton. "Every day, I honor that by working hard, taking care of myself and my family, keeping perspective on the golf course and working closely with my doctors to stay healthy, while at the same time, trying to inspire others through my involvement in programs such as 'Play Through' with Donate Life America."

Compton is participating in various events to raise awareness for organ donation while playing the Shell Houston Open this week. He will then do the same in New Orleans later this month during the Zurich Classic. Both stops are part of National Donate Life Month initiatives.

"Donate Life America is proud to continue our partnership with Erik on the 'Play Through' program," said David Fleming, President and CEO of Donate Life America. "Erik's leadership both on the golf course and in the transplant community makes him an excellent role model and ambassador for DLA to support our mission to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation."

In 2014, "Play Through" will travel to various cities across the United States, to highlight the importance of organ donation and educate the public on how to register to become a donor. Markets over the past two years have included Dallas, TX, Columbus, OH, San Francisco, CA, Washington DC, Orlando, FL, Charlotte, NC, NY/NJ Metro Area and Boston, MA.

"Play Through" is one of Donate Life America's many initiatives aimed at encouraging donor designation nationwide. Since the "Play Through" program launched in May 2012, there have been more than 9.1 million new organ donor registrations and more than 637,000 visits to Donate Life America's website.i For more information on organ donation, transplantation and to learn how to become an organ donor, please visit Donate Life America's website at www.donatelife.net.

About Organ Donation and Transplantation
In 2013, there were more than 14,000 organ donors resulting in almost 29,000 transplants in the United States. ii However, the number of people on the transplant waiting list continues to grow. Currently, there are more than 121,000 patients who are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant iii and every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list. An average of 18 people die every day while waiting for a transplant; this is due to a shortage of available organs. iv

Approximately 90 percent of Americans say they support organ donation, but only 30 percent know the essential steps that need to be taken in order to become a donor.

About Erik Compton
PGA TOUR player Erik Compton holds the distinction of being the only professional golfer in the world to compete with a transplanted heart. Compton was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a disease that inflames the heart muscle and limits its ability to pump blood, at the age of 9. After his first heart transplant in 1992 at age 12, Compton gave up contact sports and began playing golf. His second transplant came in 2008 and marked a turning point in his professional golf career.

This is Compton's third year on the PGA TOUR. His accomplishments on the PGA TOUR last year consisted of four top 25 finishes, including a tie for fourth place at the Honda Classic, as well as playing two tournaments of the FedEx Cup Playoffs to finish ranked 117 in the FedEx Cup standings. He was also the recipient of the inaugural PGA TOUR Courage Award.

Compton was among many distinguished recipients of the 2013 Donate Life Champion award. This award is given to role models in the sports community who have made a difference by inspiring others through their support for organ donation. During any given tournament week, Compton can be found volunteering his time for special events and hospital visitations to meet transplant recipients and their families in support of organ donation and transplant awareness.

For additional information, please contact Tamara Jacobs, 770/971-0677, tamara.jacobs@ketchum.com