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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Locke signs order to promote life-giving procedures

SEATTLE – Recognizing the power of one person to change public policy and save lives, Gov. Gary Locke today signed an executive order allowing employees of all state executive agencies to take paid leave for life-giving procedures, such as the donation of blood, organs, bone marrow and body tissues.

“We gather together to celebrate the power of one — or more specifically, the legacy of good that radiates out from the actions of just one person,” said Locke. “Service is a gift with a multiplier effect, touching lives and contributing to the greater good of our communities in ways we could never imagine.”

The governor signed Executive Order 02-01 and declared May as “Blood, Bone Marrow, Organ and Tissue Donation Month” at a morning press conference. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, Seattle Police Sergeant Randy Yamanaka, Seattle Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer, state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), state Reps. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37) and Velma Veloria (D-11), Linda Lyons, a leukemia patient in need of a bone marrow transplant, and representatives of community organizations joined the governor at the event, which was held in Seattle’s Hing Hay Park.

Locke directed the change in state policy after taking action on a letter from Yamanaka who was informed that his brief time off to donate his bone marrow to a one-year-old boy diagnosed with leukemia would be deemed “an inappropriate use of city time,” according to the Seattle Ethics Commission.

After talking to Yamanaka, Locke placed a call to Margaret Pageler, president of the Seattle City Council, to encourage the city to change its policy. The governor also sent her a copy of a similar ordinance that he instituted as King County Executive in 1994.

“Now, thanks to Margaret Pageler and Mayor Nickels, city employees in Seattle will receive paid leave when they are recuperating from an organ donation,” Locke said.

The governor introduced Moyer as a great athlete and a great humanitarian, and thanked him for all he does to help others through the Moyer Foundation.

“It’s very simple,” Moyer said, strongly encouraging people to consider organ donation. “It’s just filling out the back of your driver’s license and, most importantly, discussing your decision with your family members.

“Find a way to help,” Moyer added. “If we can all do our little part, together we can extend a hand to many.”

The governor also proclaimed today as “Sergeant Randy Yamanaka Appreciation Day” in recognition of Yamanaka’s courageous donation of his bone marrow stem cells to help save a child’s life.

“Sergeant Yamanaka’s noble and heroic action sets a shining example for all of us,” Locke said.

“Donating marrow to give somebody hope is one of the most important things you can do,” Yamanaka said. “You can make a huge difference. You can be the miracle that somebody needs to save their life.”

Linda Lyons, who has been on the list for a bone marrow donation since last March, also expressed her appreciation of blood donors since she has been the recipient of many units of blood during her hospitalization for leukemia.

“The precious gift of blood is something I don’t take for granted,” Lyons said, thanking all who have donated blood. “I’m living proof that it saves lives.”

Dr. Richard Counts, president of the Puget Sound Blood Center, encouraged everyone to donate blood on a regular basis and to sign up for organ donation.

Matt Kelley, president and chief executive officer of the Mavin Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting multi-racial families, issued a community call to action to learn more about organ donation, to join donor registries and to make financial contributions to organizations that support organ donation.

“When we come together as a community, we really can save lives,” Kelley said.

Locke also introduced three state employees who have direct experience with organ donation. Dennis Braddock, secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services, donated a kidney. Lydia Wagner, a dangerous-waste inspector for the Department of Ecology, was a stem cell donor. Paul Isaki, the governor’s former chief of staff and current special assistant for business, was the recipient of a kidney.

Speaking of his kidney transplant, Isaki said, “It was as though someone had turned on a light switch in a dark room. For those, like me, who have been fortunate to receive a kidney, it is truly a gift of life.”

Mavin Foundation, Puget Sound Blood Center, Kin On Community Health Care, Help Nicole, ICHS, LifeCenter Northwest and Hope Heart Institute helped organize the event.

Locke, who regularly donates blood and is on a donor registry, also thanked the International District Clinic and the Hope Heart Institute for sponsoring a public education campaign on organ donation.

“Someone will sign up and a life and a family will live and thrive thanks to your efforts,” Locke said. “And for that, we are all grateful.”
Related Links:
- Hope Heart Institute
- Puget Sound Blood Center
- Kin On Community Health Care
- LifeCenter Northwest
- Inland Northwest Blood Center
- Yakima Valley and Lower Valley Offices of the American Red Cross
- City of Seattle
- The Moyer Foundation
- Mavin Foundation
- Help Nicole
- Executive Order 02-01
- Cascade Regional Blood Services

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