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North Dakota’s Joan Azure Named Donate Life America’s 2023 Ambassador of the Year

Joan’s passion in recognition of her grandson, Greyson and the support of her community at Turtle Mountain, have created a movement.

Joan Azure led the effort to create the first ever donor registration for tribal IDs. It took nearly four years to find solutions, build support among The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and navigate the complexities of a new registry system. Her continuous passion and persistence have been in service to others, the Turtle Mountain tribe, and in recognition of her grandson, Greyson a heart recipient. 

Thanks to Joan, more than 1,200 Turtle Mountain tribe members have registered as donors for the very first time. In the first six months of the program, over 500 tribe members became organ, eye and tissue donors because it was in-line with their values and for the first time, it was easy to do. 

Earlier this year, she spoke with over 900 tribal leaders at a national conference to share why and how the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa made tribal ID registration a reality. Joan and the Turtle Mountain Council encourage other tribes to consider doing the same. 

“Let’s Celebrate & Educate”: One Year Anniversary of The Greyson Initiative 

On November 15, 2023, The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and LifeSource hosted a donation awareness and education event on the one-year anniversary of The Greyson Initiative launch.  Speakers included LifeSource staff, community members and our own board member, Dr. Monica Mayer. At the event, more than 70 tribal members registered as donors on their tribal IDs.