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12th Consecutive Year Leading U.S. in Organ Donation for Gift of Life Donor Program

Region Again Breaks Two U.S. Records, Showing Extraordinary Generosity and Clinical Leadership: Most Organ Donors and Life-Saving Transplants

12th Consecutive Year Leading U. S. in Organ Donation for Gift of Life Donor Program
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Philadelphia, PA – For the 12th consecutive year, Gift of Life Donor Program is the nation’s leading organ procurement organization (OPO), coordinating the most life-saving organs for transplant among all 58 U.S. OPOs.  

Gift of Life once again broke two national records in 2019, with the highest annual totals for organ donors and transplants ever recorded for a U.S.-based OPO. Gift of Life region led the nation in:

  • Most organ donors – coordinated life-saving gifts from 664 organ donors
  • Most organs transplanted – donations resulted in 1,865 organs transplanted

Gift of Life’s annual donation rate, 59 organ donors-per-million-population, and annual transplant rate, 167 transplants-per-million population, both rank among the highest in the world.

“Every day, our dedicated staff works around the clock to do everything they can to save the lives of the more than 5,000 men, women and children in our region waiting for a life-saving organ,” said Gift of Life President and CEO Howard M. Nathan.  “They are supported by the most generous community in the country and the nation’s foremost hospitals and transplant centers. Together, we have created an international model of compassionate care, clinical excellence and community partnership.”

In 2019, Gift of Life also recovered life-enhancing tissue from 2,677 donors, including 1,305 musculoskeletal donors and 2,234 cornea donors. These donations can benefit more than 100,000 people, with bone donations for orthopedic and sports injuries, skin donations to heal burn patients and for reconstructive surgery, heart valve donations to repair life-threatening defects and corneas to provide the gift of sight.

Leader in Building Community

Gift of Life partners with 128 acute care hospitals and 15 transplant centers across its region in its life-saving work.

“Through our shared mission of saving lives and providing compassionate care, Gift of Life staff and hospital critical care teams work 24/7 to ensure that families have the opportunity to save and heal lives through organ and tissue donation,” said Gift of Life Vice President of Clinical Services Richard D. Hasz.  “These extraordinary partnerships of dedicated and committed professionals build a strong culture of donation throughout our region.” Gift of Life annually recognizes hospitals with its Gift of Life Award for championing organ donation. 

Approximately 113,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ in the U.S. and every day, 20 people die waiting. In Gift of Life’s region, which encompasses the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware, there are currently more than 5,000 men, women and children awaiting a life-saving transplant. The percentage of people registered as organ donors through their states’ driver’s license registries are: 49.4 percent in Pennsylvania, 36 percent in New Jersey and 52 percent in Delaware.

“We are so privileged to serve the community that is the most generous region in the country for donation,” said Gift of Life Vice President of Administration & General Counsel Jan L. Weinstock, Esq“Yet the need for increased communication and advocacy about the shortage of organs for transplant remains a critical public health issue. We urge everyone to register as a donor and join our mission. Our vision is that one day, no one will die waiting for an organ.”

It only takes 30 seconds to register.

Leader in Community Support

As a leading region for healthcare, Philadelphia is a destination for transplant patients. Gift of Life Family House provides affordable lodging, meals and supportive services for transplant patients and their families.  In 2019, Gift of Life Family House staff and volunteers provided 9,401 lodging nights of care for 16,840 guests, 33,680 meals, and 1,164 rides to and from hospitals. Since its opening in July 2011, with community support, the Family House has provided 66,326 lodging nights for 121,682 guests, served more than 243,364meals and provided more than $9.3 million in subsidized care to families. In 2019, Family House’s occupancy rate was 86 percent, with 121 nights at full capacity, prompting the addition of two new rooms thanks to generous support from the community. Click here to support Gift of Life Family House and transplant families visit.

Gift of Life’s largest annual gathering and fundraiser is the Donor Dash, this year celebrating its 25th Anniversary on April 19 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Held each year during National Donate Life Month, the Dash celebrates the life-saving power of organ and tissue transplantation.  Since its establishment in 1996, a quarter of a million people have attended the Dash and its life-saving message has reached millions through media and community participation.  In the last 5 years alone, the Dash has raised $3 million to support organ and tissue donation.

Every other year, Gift of Life has the largest traveling team at the Donate Life Transplant Games of America, a showcase for the success of organ donation and transplantation. Competing athletes are living donors and organ and tissue recipients. Gift of Life has championed this extraordinary event since its inception in 1982. Team Philadelphia will return to the Transplant Games in July 2020 at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Leader in Innovation and Education

Gift of Life is recognized internationally for its leadership and scholarship in the field of organ and tissue donation. The Gift of Life Institute is the international leader in organ and tissue donation education, training close to 10,500 professionals from 39 countries since its creation in 2004 – including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and United Arab Emirates. The Institute has also facilitated more than 400 workshops with 58 OPOs and multiple tissue banks. 

The Institute’s Transplant Pregnancy Registry International (TPR) studies post-transplant parenthood and the effects of medications on fertility and pregnancy. Since 1991, TPR has tracked more than 4,800 post-transplant pregnancy outcomes, sharing information with countless transplant recipients and their healthcare teams making family planning decisions. TPR is the only Registry of its kind in the world. Its team has presented their findings in more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and presented at 520 academic forums worldwide.

Gift of Life Donor Program

Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally-designated organ procurement organization, working with 128 acute care hospitals and 15 transplant centers to serve 11.2 million people in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Thanks to its compassionate community, for the past 12 years, Gift of Life has coordinated the most life-saving organs for transplant in the United States. Its annual donation rate ranks among the highest in the world. Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 50,000 life-saving organs for transplant, and approximately 1.5 million tissue transplants have resulted from the generosity of donors and their families. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and a tissue donor can improve the lives of more than 75 others.

Consider saying YES to saving lives. Register to be an organ donor today.