Written by Zoe Engels, Blog Contributor
“We have the ability to help people, so why not use what we can and do what we can?” Elizabeth Shaw, a Founding Member of SODA at Oak Mountain High School, said during a Zoom call. It’s a question she has considered often as she helps plan the chapter’s events and works to get her community involved in organ donation advocacy and education.
Elizabeth first heard about SODA through her friend, Cade May. Cade, a Founding Member and current President of SODA at Oak Mountain, learned that a nearby high school had started a chapter, so he shared the news with Elizabeth. As they learned more about organ donation advocacy, she thought, “This is something that everyone needs to be doing.” Elizabeth, now a senior, hadn’t realized how many misconceptions there are about organ donation, and she quickly became determined to help bring organ donation education to her community.
And that’s exactly what she and her friends did. In September 2021, SODA at Oak Mountain High School became an official chapter.
Find out if your school has an official SODA chapter! Visit sodanational.org/chapter-opo.
SODA at Oak Mountain attends 5ks and other marathons as a group to help spread the word about the life-saving power of organ donation. At the Mercedes Marathon, the chapter registered one hundred people as organ donors. And, after the Color Run, Mountain High Outfitters, a store for outdoor apparel, footwear and gear, reached out to the chapter with an interest in establishing a partnership and helping spread the word about organ donation.
On April 5th, SODA at Oak Mountain will hold a blood drive for students and faculty.
“We want to do our part to save lives if we can,” Elizabeth said.
Much of her passion for helping others stems from her upbringing. Her mom was first diagnosed with colon cancer when Elizabeth was five, made a full recovery, and was again diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago. Before graduating, Elizabeth hopes to foster a partnership between Rump Run for colon cancer research and SODA at Oak Mountain.
In addition to her mission to help others, Elizabeth found another passion through both SODA and B.E.S.T. Robotics Club: marketing. She has been the President of B.E.S.T. Robotics Club, or Boosting Engineering Science & Technology Robotics Club, for the past three years (in fact, she’s been on the leadership board for the high school’s team since middle school, and she has been involved with B.E.S.T. Robotics since she was about ten years old!). In the club, the team builds products that they must then sell. With SODA, Elizabeth gets to post on social media, promote events among her peers, and find and communicate with sponsors in her community, including a local doughnut shop. Marketing is now a central part of her life.
If you’re interested in joining a college or high school nonprofit and are also a passionate advocate for organ donation, you can sign up to host a SODA event or start a chapter at sodanational.org/students.
While Elizabeth prepares for the last few SODA events of her senior year, she’s getting ready to pass the torch, but she’s not done with her organ donation advocacy journey. As she decides on a college, with the goal of majoring in marketing, she hopes to start a SODA chapter on her college campus. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her and SODA at Oak Mountain!