Ask Michael Hedden why he became involved with the New Jersey Sharing Network and serves on its board of trustees, and his answer is simple and direct – to help save lives through organ and tissue donations for transplants.
Hedden, who lives in Lawrence Township and who is a real estate expert, learned about the New Jersey Sharing Network when he was asked to perform a real estate valuation on its facility by a longtime supporter of the nonprofit group.
During the course of his appraisal work for the New Jersey Sharing Network, Hedden was introduced to Joseph Roth, its president and chief executive officer. He saw first-hand how committed the group is to saving lives through organ and tissue donations.
Hedden was soon tapped to serve on the group’s board of trustees. Over the course of seven years, he has served as a board member, secretary, treasurer, vice president and – since April – the president of the board of trustees.
“I have supported many causes over the years, but none are as meaningful as organ and tissue donation,” Hedden said.
“To be part of the life-saving work that the New Jersey Sharing Network does is as awe-inspiring today as the first day I learned about the organization,” Hedden said.
Nearly 700 life-saving organ transplants were made in 2018, according to the group. The majority of organs came from deceased donors, but some came from living donors.
“The appeal (of volunteering with the New Jersey Sharing Network) is quite simple. The network helps people in the purest sense. It is my way to give back and to pay forward to a humanitarian cause that means so much to so many,” he said.
Hedden said that in his role as the chairman of the board of trustees, “I can contribute at the highest level, using all of my years of business experience to work with senior management and guarantee the network’s relevance and sustainability.”
Hedden emphasized the importance of honoring and remembering the individuals and families that have donated organs. It gives hope to people who are waiting for a transplant so they can live longer lives, he said.
About 4,000 New Jersey residents are on the list for an organ transplant. Each day, three people are added to the waiting list. One person dies every three days while waiting for a transplant, according to the New Jersey Sharing Network.
One organ donor can save eight lives, and one tissue donor can restore health to more than 75 people. More information is available at www.NJSharingNetwork.org.