NORTHBROOK, Ill., April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Pharma US, Inc. ("Astellas"), a U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. ( Tokyo: 4503), and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, a not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana, have collaborated to raise awareness of the need for more organ donors in the city of Chicago. As part of the efforts, Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed a proclamation declaring today, April 19, Organ Donation Awareness Day in the city of Chicago. Astellas and Gift of Hope are encouraging the Chicago community to learn more about organ donation, and register their decision to donate. "We're proud to partner with Astellas in building a community of support around organ donation awareness and the need for more donors," said David Bosch, Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs at Gift of Hope. "The decision to be an organ donor gives hope to many people awaiting a second chance." While organ transplantation is a remarkable story in the history of medicine, the need for organs is vastly greater than the number available for transplantation. Currently there are more than 117,000 people in the U.S. awaiting an organ transplant – including more than 5,000 people in Illinois. Each year, more than 28,000 Americans receive a donated organ, but sadly, more than 6,500 people die each year waiting for an organ. Today's proclamation underscores Astellas' ongoing commitment to the Chicago community, as well as the national transplantation and organ donation community. "Astellas has been committed to the transplant community for more than 20 years and is dedicated to raising awareness of the need for organ donation," said James Robinson, President, Astellas Pharma US, Inc. "We're excited to work with Gift of Hope to raise awareness about organ donation in Illinois. Through initiatives like today's proclamation, we're educating the public on the important role donors play in giving others a second chance at life." Becoming an organ donor is a simple process that can be completed in a matter of minutes online or through the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. For more information on organ donation or to register as a donor, visit www.giftofhope.org. About Gift of HopeCelebrating 25 years of saving and enhancing lives in 2012, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization entrusted by the nation's healthcare system with coordinating organ and tissue donation and providing donor family services and public education in Illinois and northwest Indiana. Since 1987, it has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of nearly 20,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. As one of 58 organ procurement organizations that make up the nation's organ and tissue donation system, Gift of Hope works with 180 donor hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area. About Astellas Astellas is a recognized leader in transplantation and has been committed to the field of immunology for more than 20 years. Dedicated to supporting the advancement of care for patients, Astellas continues to build upon its legacy and leadership in transplantation by investing in ongoing clinical research and new product development. Astellas Pharma US, Inc., located in Northbrook, Illinois, is a US affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in focused areas by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities. For more information about Astellas Pharma US, Inc., please visit our website at www.Astellas.us. SOURCE Astellas Pharma US, Inc.