Gift of Hope Raises the Bar on Donation – 3,200 Tissue Donors Sets New Mark
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network helped save and enhance more lives through organ and tissue donation in 2019 than in any other year in its history. During the year, 450 people offered the gift of life through organ donation, resulting in more than 1,320 organs being transplanted successfully. Additionally, more than 3,200 people offered lifesaving and life-enhancing gifts of tissue, moving Gift of Hope past the 3,000-tissue-donor threshold for the first time in its 33-year history.
“Milestones like this remind us of the incredible impact we have on our community,” said Kevin Cmunt, Gift of Hope President/CEO. “None of this is possible without the selfless gifts offered by organ and tissue donors and their family members and the dedicated support of our donation partners and volunteers. “These generous donors and committed donation partners have allowed Gift of Hope to recover tissue for thousands of grafts, which can produce healing benefits like mitigating spinal pain, repairing damaged heart valves and offering lifesaving skin grafts to burn patients.”
Gift of Hope’s performance mirrored donation activity across the country. On a national scale, the United Network for Organ Sharing reported that organ procurement organizations like Gift of Hope saved a record number of lives through donation in 2019. Of the 58 OPOs operating in the United States, 48 experienced increases in donation from 2018 to 2019, and 41 established new all-time annual records.
In total, health care teams across the country performed 39,718 transplants with organs from deceased and living donors. This marked an 8.7 percent increase over 2018 and established a seventh consecutive annual record for organ donation and transplantation.
“This staggering increase is a tribute to the dedication of donors and their families nationwide who make the courageous decision at a time of great personal loss to give the gift of life to people who are awaiting organ transplantation,” said Maryl Johnson, M.D., President of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network’s Board of Directors. “While we recognize the sacrifices that have been made to make the increase possible, we are steadfast in continuing to serve the needs of nearly 113,000 people in the United States who are still awaiting a transplant.”
In 2019, the wait for lifesaving organ transplants ended for many people, and countless more received lifesaving and life-enhancing skin grafts, bone grafts, valve replacements and other tissue transplants. However, significant public misconceptions surrounding organ and tissue donation continue as the need for organ and tissue donors continues to grow.
“The core belief that donation benefits every family is one of the guiding tenets that drives Gift of Hope’s mission and vision,” said Cmunt. “We see time and time again that families take comfort in knowing their loved ones’ legacies don’t end with their death but live on through the gift of donation. Because of this, we will continue to work with our donation partners and our communities to offer the opportunity for donation to as many people as possible and to honor the generous decision of every registered organ and tissue donor and every family that says yes to donation on their loved one’s behalf.”