I became passionate about organ donation at a young age. In February of 2009, my older sister, Laura, suddenly passed away from a brain tumor. On the worst day of my life, my sister was able to save a life by donating her liver to a special education teacher named Trish. During this dark time in my life, I felt hope from knowing that my sister saved a life, and soon became passionate about spreading the importance of organ donation with my peers. In high school, I spoke at Driver’s Education classes, to my youth group, and to my friends and family.
I founded Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) my first semester at Washington University in St. Louis in 2014 because I wanted to honor my sister, Laura, and to share the impact she made and that others can make by being an organ donor. A few years later in 2017, I realized that students across the country shared a similar passion for organ donation advocacy and wanted to make an impact. So, we formed SODA National and got to work!
Over the coming years, we expanded to many more campuses in partnership with Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) and UNOS. Today, in April of 2023, we’re already at 50 chapters and counting! Our student leaders have educated more than 50,000 students about organ donation. Each chapter educates and registers students in their community.
If you are interested in learning more about SODA, visit our website sodanational.org.