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Gift of Life Donor Program Records Busiest Organ Donation & Transplantation Month in U.S. History

Philadelphia, PA – Gift of Life Donor Program’s 24/7 clinical team coordinated gifts from 78 organ donors, resulting in 204 life-saving organs transplanted in July. It was the greatest number of organ donors coordinated in one month and the first time any U.S. organ procurement organization (OPO) exceeded 200 organs for transplant in the same period.

“These aren’t just numbers. They represent people’s lives. I am incredibly proud of our Gift of Life team for every life they save, working hand in hand with our dedicated hospital partners. Our inspiration comes from our heroic donors, their families and the about 5,000 people in our region awaiting a life-saving organ,” said Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO of Gift of Life Donor Program.

“We strive for a day will when no one dies waiting for a transplant. It takes sleepless nights, clinical expertise and a deep reservoir of compassion found throughout our dedicated staff and hospital partners. Few people understand the commitment of these unsung heroes who work 24/7, behind the scenes, to support families in creating a heroic legacy for their loved ones through the gift of life,” said Richard D. Hasz, Jr., MFS, CPTC, Vice President of Clinical Services.

There are two particularly timely aspects to Gift of Life’s record-setting number of organ donors:

  • Thirty-five percent of the donors were from multicultural communities. This significant diversity increases opportunities for successful transplants. It is especially highlighted now and every August as we mark National Minority Donor Awareness Month, an observance held to increase the number of multicultural registered organ and tissue donors. More than half of the people on the transplant waitlist are from multicultural communities.
  • One of the contributing factors in the increase in donors is the recovery of organs after circulatory death. Donation after Circulatory Death (DCD) is a pathway to organ donation when a patient dies following a family’s decision to withdraw support. To give more families the opportunity to donate following DCD, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) launched a national DCD Collaborative in January 2021.  As an active participant in the OPTN Collaborative, Gift of Life staff worked with transplant teams and intensive care medical and nursing staff to ensure families were more aware of this opportunity.  Through this collaborative effort, Gift of Life increased its DCD donors by 61 percent from January 1 – July 31, 2021, over the same period in 2020, providing more families with the opportunity to give others a second chance at life.  

More than 100,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ in the U.S.

Every day, 17 people die waiting, making registering as an organ donor a critical public health need and responsibility.

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 11.3 million people in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Thanks to its compassionate community, for the past 13 years, Gift of Life has coordinated the most organ donors in the United States. Its annual donation rate, most recently 55 organ donors-per-million-population, ranks among the highest in the world. Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 53,500 life-saving organs for transplant, and more than 2 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 about 100 others. For more information or to register, visit donors1.org.

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

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