2017 Sets Record for Organ Donors in Upper Midwest
LifeSource announces a record 184 organ donors in 2017, leading to 586 organs transplanted
Minneapolis, MN – LifeSource, the nonprofit organization that facilitates organ, eye and tissue donation in the Upper Midwest, worked with a record 184 grieving families to steward the gifts of 586 organ transplants in 2017. The record year in the organization’s nearly three decade history is part of the national increase in organ donors, which preliminary data from UNOS shows as topping 10,000 deceased donors in the US for the first time last year.
Additionally, LifeSource facilitated eye and tissue donation from 568 donors which has the potential to save and heal up to 42,600 lives. The organization also educates the public on organ, eye and tissue donation and works with the Department of Public Safety in Minnesota and South Dakota, and the Department of Transportation in North Dakota, to grow the region’s donor registries. The region as a whole continued to see an increase in donor designation, which is now at a record 64%.
“We are incredibly moved by our region’s continued support and dedication to save lives through organ, eye and tissue donation,” said LifeSource CEO Susan Gunderson. “Thanks to this support and our continued partnerships with 270 hospitals, 8 transplant centers, funeral directors, medical examiners, driver’s license professionals and the Minnesota DNR we are energized to continue the momentum built in 2017 into the new year.”
2017 also set a new benchmark for the number of adults in the region over 18 who registered to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. Now at an all-time high of 64%, the Upper Midwest continues to far outpace the country as a whole, which is at 54%, in support for donation. 2017 also saw Minnesota become the first and only state to allow its residents to register as a donor when purchasing their hunting and fishing licenses online through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Partnering with the Minnesota DNR to give Minnesotans more ways to register as a donor continues the state’s legacy of leading when it comes to the mission of donation,” continued Gunderson. “As a result of strong bi-partisan support for donation and turning an innovative idea into reality, more lives will ultimately be saved.”
The past year also saw an increase in eye and tissue donation over 2016, including the gifts of bone, skin, vein and heart valves that save and heal lives. LifeSource worked with 568 generous tissue donors and their families in 2017 with the potential to save and heal up to 42,600 lives. Medical technology continues to advance, helping provide additional opportunities and allowing more people to give the gift of life through tissue donation.
“As part of our mission, we care for the family of donors through our donor family aftercare program. In 2017 we added 677 donor families to our program, offering grief services, memorial events and tribute opportunities to remember their loved one who lives on through their selfless act of donation. Donor families can participate in our aftercare services for as long as they would like,” continued Gunderson.
Even with the generosity of donor family members and the continued efforts of LifeSource and partner organizations, nearly 3,400 people in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Western Wisconsin continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. For more information about donation or to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeMN.org.
LifeSource is the non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in the Upper Midwest, serving more than seven million people in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Learn more at life-source.org.