April is Donate Life Month, when people across the United States come together and celebrate the incredible generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, marrow, and blood donors. During the month of April, there is also a focus on raising awareness to encourage more Americans to register to save a life. Right now, more than 134 million people across the United States are registered (excluding living donations), but increasing that number means saving more lives through donation.
There is a great need for organ donors in the United States. Did you know?
- Right now, there are 118,188 people on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ.
- Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list.
- A single tissue donor can help more than 75 people.
- Last year, more than 33,600 transplants were performed here in the United States (from 9,900 deceased and 5,900 living donors).
- Each day, 22 people die waiting for an organ transplant.
What types of donation is available?
- Living donation: Living donation occurs when a healthy person donates a kidney; part of a liver, lung, intestine, or pancreas; bone marrow; or blood to another living person.
- Deceased: This type of donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ at the time of the donor’s death. People most frequently become donors after a stroke, heart attack, or severe head injury. Most transplanted organs still come from deceased donors.
What can be donated?
- Organs: heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines. Hands and faces have also recently been added to the list.
- Tissue: cornea, skin, heart valves, bone, blood vessels, and connective tissue
- Bone marrow and stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC)
What can be done to save more lives?
- Sign up to be an organ donor: When you register, most states let you choose what organs and tissues you want to donate, and you can update your status at any time. You can sign up online or in-person at your local motor vehicle department. Living donations are a different process. Learn more about that here.
- Get involved and volunteer: There are plenty of ways to get involved and make a difference in the lives of people waiting for a transplant. From helping to raise awareness by sharing materials to connecting to an organ donation organization, you can find one that’s right for you.
Join UPMC Transplant Services and the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) to celebrate the gift of life throughout spring 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/transplantsafety/overview/key-facts.html
Center for Organ Recovery & Education: www.core.org/
United Network for Organ Sharing: www.unos.org/
US Department of Human Services: Organ Donation: https://www.organdonor.gov/statistics-stories/statistics.html
UPMC Transplant Services: www.upmc.com/services/transplant/patient-resources/education-support/pages/donate-life.aspx