Palmdale Regional Medical Center will recognize National Donate Life Month in April by flying a “Donate Life” flag in honor of organ, eye and tissue donors.

“Organ and tissue donation can save and improve lives right here in our community, throughout the state of California, and across the nation,” said Julie Montague, director of marketing at the hospital. “Palmdale Regional wants to help drive that point home with this symbolic flag.”

On April 4, the public is invited to attend the official kick-off of organ donation month as the medical center staff encourages residents of the Antelope Valley to join the California Organ Donor Registry. One organ recipient is expected to be there to share her story. Anna Villafana was diagnosed with renal failure at age 18 and received her first transplant, a kidney, from a family member.

“It was the most amazing gift I could have possibly received,” Villafana said. After 15 and one-half years, Villafana’s body rejected the transplant and her health declined rapidly. Last year, she received a call that a kidney was available from a young man who had lost his life, and she remains grateful that the donor placed his name on the registry.

Officials at the hospital say that tens of thousands of Californians are waiting to receive life-saving hearts, livers, lungs, kidneys and other organs. But there are not enough donors to meet the growing need in the state.

“Joining the donor registry gives hope to those in need of organ and tissue transplants,” Montague added, “while leaving a legacy of generosity for the donor and his or her family.”

For more details, visit www.donateLIFEcalifornia or call Palmdale Regional Medical Center at (661) 382-5000.