Each year, the number of people on the national organ transplant waiting list surpass the number of donors available, pointing to a critical need to engage more Americans to choose to donate. Successfully doing so requires dispelling the myth-based storylines regarding transplantation that has too often saturated television and film and, perhaps unknowingly, have discouraged people from lending a hand.
Such a situation was unacceptable to Tenaya Wallace, founder of Donate Life Hollywood and CEO of Crowd Advocacy. Over the past decade Tenaya has pioneered a number of initiatives to eliminate donation misconceptions by making sure that Hollywood storylines are accurate, positive and inspiring. And when they are not, letting them know that too!
Steered by a heart-driven passion to give all people a second chance at life, Tenaya founded Donate Life Hollywood in 2008 which today serves as a liaison between the organ donation community and the entertainment industry. It’s goal, simply put, is to see more authentic and empowering storytelling about donation and transplantation. Through Donate Life Hollywood, film companies, television programs, entertainment studios, producers and writers have access to a network of experts—from renowned transplant surgeons to families whose loved ones became an organ donor—for free consultations on all aspects of organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. Under Tenaya’s vibrant leadership, this historic program is run through the OneLegacy Foundation and is supported by organ procurement organizations, tissue banks, transplant centers and people personally touched by donation.
Tenaya’s connection to Hollywood is inbred. Both of her parents as well as her husband work behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Born in the heart of Hollywood, Tenaya remembers a young Drew Barrymore and Joey Lawrence (both of whom her mother taught) hanging out at her house and in high school reading fan mail with close friend Leonardo DiCaprio.
With a master’s in public policy from UCLA, Tenaya began working in the field of organ donation in 2002 when she joined OneLegacy, the not-for-profit organ, eye and tissue agency that serves the 20 million people, 200+ hospitals in the greater Southern California region as well as transplant centers and patients across the country. There, she helped create the OneLegacy Ambassador program (which has since trained thousands of volunteers touched by donation on how to inspire others to donate), and later served on the organizing committee of Donate Life California, which launched the state’s acclaimed donor registry. In addition, Tenaya helped advance the Donate Life message nationally as a founding committee member of the Donate Life Rose Parade float and served on the board of Donate Life America where she helped develop national Donate Life Blue and Green Day, now celebrated each April as part of Donate Life Month.
Last year, Tenaya’s tenacious vision for accurate storytelling and positive representations of organ donation was honored by the Ava’s Heart Foundation, esteeming her a pioneer in the field of organ donation and transplantation. Today, with innovation and heart, Tenaya continues to help bring to life a host of groundbreaking and effective Donate Life Hollywood initiatives, all of which are designed to reflect the DLH mission to empower those touched by donation and to help Hollywood tell accurate stories that save lives.
Visit http://www.tenayaspeaks.com/about-tenaya.html for more information.