January 04, 2019
The Gift of Life Donor Program, a non-profit, federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO), serving 11.2 million people across the eastern half of Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware, broke two national records in 2018.
The organization hit the highest totals ever recorded for organ donors and transplants for a U.S.-based OPO in a single year, with 615 organ donors and 1,671 organs transplanted.
Additionally, Gift of Life's annual donation rate, an impressive 55 organ donors-per-million-population, and annual transplant rate of 149 transplants-per-million population, both rank among the highest in the world, the organization notes.
Last year, Gift of Life also had 2,503 tissue donors, 1,368 musculoskeletal donors and 2,009 cornea donors in 2018. The donations can benefit more than 100,000 people in the organization's network, with bone donations for orthopedic and sports injuries, heart valve donations to repair life-threatening defects and skin donations for reconstructive surgery and to heal burn patients. Obviously, corneas can provide the gift of sight.
Gift of Life partners with 130 acute care hospitals and 15 transplant centers across the region. Currently, there are about 114,000 people waiting for an organ in the United States. Every day, 20 people die waiting for their opportunity. In the Gift of Life region, about 5,200 men, women and children awaiting a life-saving transplant.
While these statistics are ultimately positive and promising, the organization's work is not over, according to Jan L. Weinstock, vice president of administration and general counsel for Gift of Life:
“Our community should be so proud of how we lead the nation in saving lives through organ donation. But we must not forget that there remains a tremendous gap between the number of people waiting for organs and the number of people receiving transplants. We urgently need more people to register as organ donors to help fill that void and save more lives."