“Be a life donor” campaign

“Be a life donor” campaign HCFA TEAM February 15, 2023

Transplants in Cystic Fibrosis

In Cystic Fibrosis the first organ we lose is the lungs and what we miss most is our breath. Lung transplantation is the only life-saving option for patients in end-stage respiratory failure.

With the initiatives of the Hellenic Cystic Fibrosis Association in 2014, a transnational agreement was reached between the National Transplantation Organisation (EOM) and the Austrian Transplant Centre (AKH), thanks to which more than 25 patients who were transplanted in Vienna were saved. Since June 2019, the Greek lung transplantation programme has been launched in Greece at the Onassis Cardiosurgery Centre, with the support of the Onassis Foundation. In 2022, the first two successful lung transplants in patients with CF were performed in Greece.

One of the main problems in transplantation is low organ donor rates. To become an organ donor, a person must be certified in the ICU as having brain death, which is an irreversible condition. The timely procurement of organs is a difficult process, which requires a well-organised health system with a sufficient number of qualified scientists. More about lung transplantation in Cystic Fibrosis here.

Second chance in life

"Unlimited Breath - Be a Life Donor"

We support organ donation with actions!

Organ donation is the highest act of love and altruism, as one donor can save eight of our fellow human beings!

The Hellenic Cystic Fibrosis Association has launched the campaign “Unlimited Breath – Be a Life Donor” from 2020, with the support of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mrs. Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

The central action of the campaign is the murals in large hospitals across the country. Their aim is to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis and the struggle of patients for Unlimited Breath and to motivate them to become organ donors and give the second chance to life to their fellow human beings by “recycling” their organs. The murals have been designed in central hospitals across the country, as early identification of potential donors takes place in hospital ICUs.

In the framework of the campaign, in September 2023, a musical concert for awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation was held at the “Thanasis Vengos” theatre in Korydallos with the musical group “48 Hours”.

The campaign is under the auspices of the National Transplantation Organization (NTO), the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, the General Hospital of Nikaia “Agios Panteleimon”, the General Hospital of Piraeus “Tzaneio”.

It has been awarded a Silver Healthcare Award 2021, as in 2020-2021 during covid-19 it contributed to a tripling of organ donor registrations, with 631 new registrations in the National Transplantation Organisation’s Organ Donor Register.

The first mural

As part of the campaign, the Association created its first mural at the Nikaia Hospital in 2020. The mural depicts Lena, a real Cystic Fibrosis patient who had a lung transplant in 2016 in Austria at the age of 18. Lena’s face captures the patient of every age and condition who is in respiratory failure. She wears an oxygen mask, struggling daily with what she lacks, her breath. Propose the tip of the tube to each of us so we can give her unlimited breath with the lung transplant.

The mural is hosted at the General Hospital of Nikaia “Agios Panteleimon” after the immediate response of the former Governor of the hospital Mr. Mytoglou Anastasios and was implemented by “Humane”, “Urban act” and the artist same84 with the kind support of the Urban non-profit company of Cultural and Public Benefit Project “Aegeas”, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, flame and drone photography.

The second mural

In 2023, the Association created its second mural at the Tzaneio Hospital in Piraeus. The mural depicts Stella, a real patient with Cystic Fibrosis, the only one in Greece who has undergone not once but twice a lung transplant, claiming for the second time the right for a second chance at life.

In Stella’s face we capture the hope, the struggle of patients who fought for their breath and succeeded. They managed to transform themselves, to be reborn and gain a second chance at life. The mural serves as a constant reminder to hospital visitors and the general public of the struggle of our patients and the value of organ donation.

The mural is hosted at the General Hospital of Piraeus “Tzaneio” after the immediate response of the hospital’s Governor Mr. Goozouasis Ilias and was realized by street artist Hambas with the kind support of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the Onassis Foundation.

The concert

As part of the campaign and on the occasion of its 40th birthday, the Association held a musical concert to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation in September 2023. The concert began with messages of support from the President of the Republic and the Minister of Health, the Presidents of the National Transplantation Organisation (NTO), the Onassis Foundation and the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, as well as the Governor of the General Hospital of Piraeus “Tzaneio”. The band “48 Hours” with great energy roused the audience and turned the event into an interactive party of joy, transmitting with optimism the message of the patients with Cystic Fibrosis for Unlimited Breath and a second chance at life. It was a touching moment when little children took to the stage with the banner they created for the patients and released balloons into the sky sending away the wish for Unlimited Breath. Read more here .

The concert took place on September 20, 2023, at the open theatre of Korydallos “Thanasis Vengos” with the music band “48 Hours”, under the auspices of the National Transplantation Organization, the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center and the Municipality of Korydallos and with the kind support of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Major Sponsor), Gilead (Bronze Sponsor), Motor Oil (Donor).

Message of the President of the Republic

The country’s first citizen, the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, supports the campaign’s actions, setting an example and inviting citizens to set new goals: to become organ donors, to support lung transplantation with actions that cost one click. The video with the message of the President of the Republic for the campaign here.

"I would like to express my full support for your "Breathless Breath" campaign to raise awareness about organ donation and lung transplantation. I know how dangerous the disease is, how difficult the daily life of sufferers is, how likely they are to be deprived of life by respiratory failure. I am also aware of the struggle of the Hellenic Cystic Fibrosis Association to ensure that sufferers of the disease in our country have free early access to the revolutionary treatment that can stop the symptoms of the disease, preventing the destruction of the body's organs, especially the lung. The happy outcome of this struggle fills us with hope. However, the possibility of transplantation offers more hope, and this relies on the availability of potential donors. Organ donation is an act of love and social solidarity, an act that multiplies life. And I assure you that you will find me as a helper in the effort to inform and raise awareness of our fellow citizens in all steps of your difficult struggle." The campaign is supported by leading figures in the health sector, aiming to raise awareness and sensitise citizens about organ donation and transplantation. With the campaign "Breath Unlimited - Be a life Donor", the Association contributed to the tripling of organ donor registrations in the National Transplantation Organisation's Registry, while the communication activities of the Association's campaign continue to raise awareness among citizens.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou - President of the Republic

We support transplants with actions

The reversal of our country’s negative performance in organ donation can be initiated by each of us.

We visit the website of the National Transplant Organization and register as organ donors.

We give a 2nd chance in life to our fellow human beings in danger.

We give unlimited breath with one click!