One month after Illinois began phased reopening, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network announces more organs were donated and transplanted in July than any other month in its history

ITASCA, Ill.—August 6, 2020 — In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois saw a record-breaking month for organ donation and transplantation, as the percentage of families saying “yes” to donation was the highest it has been in over eight years.

Gift of Hope coordinated 59 organ donors who gave the gift of life, donating 186 organs to patients on the transplant waiting list. July was also a record month for minority donation in Illinois. Sixty percent of organ donors were minorities and the percentage of minority families saying “yes” to donation was the highest it has ever been.

“Prior to July, the pandemic had negatively impacted donation and transplantation with a significant decrease in both nationwide, resulting in more patients having to wait for a chance for a lifesaving organ transplant,” said Kevin Cmunt, President and CEO of Gift of Hope a not-for-profit organ procurement organization. “July has made up almost entirely for the slowdown from COVID-19. We are deeply grateful for the incredible generosity of these donor families. Together, we have rewritten the stories for these families from one of tragic loss to one of selfless heroism.”

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month and Gift of Hope is partnering with its donation partners and volunteers to spread the word about the importance of ethnic diversity in donation and honor the courage of diverse donors and their families throughout the month.

In Illinois, minority patients make up the majority of those in need. 1,450 African Americans, 800 Hispanic Americans and 240 Asian Americans are on the transplant waiting list. To learn more about the importance of minority donation, visit the Gift of Hope website.

Gift of Hope encourages the public to consider registering to become an organ and tissue donor and to let their families know their wishes, which may make that decision easier during a devastating time of loss. Individuals can join the registry online through the Gift of Hope website or by Texting HOPE to 51555.

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. As one of 58 OPOs that make up the nation’s donation system, we work with 180 hospitals and serve 12 million people in our donation service area. Since 1986, we have saved the lives of more than 23,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients through our efforts.

Minority Organ and Tissue Donation

  • Nearly 60% of people waiting for lifesaving organs are minorities. On the transplant list in Illinois are: 1,450 African Americans, 800 Hispanic Americans, and 240 Asian Americans.
  • Ethnic minorities make up only 33% of registered donors in the U.S.
  • Critical qualities for donor and recipient matching are more likely to be found in members of the same ethnicity.
  • A greater diversity of donors may increase access to minorities waiting for lifesaving organ transplants.

Media contact

Dave Bosch

Chief Marketing/Communications Officer

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network