July Saw the Most Organ/Tissue Donors Ever in the Upper Midwest
Record Year a Result of Strong Hospital Partnerships and Generosity of Donors
MINNEAPOLIS – July was a milestone month for organ and tissue in the Upper Midwest with more donors than any other month in LifeSource’s 33-year history: 28 organ donors (84 organs transplanted/lives saved) and 118 tissue donors (more than 8,850 lives impacted). The second highest month saw 26 organ donors and 100 tissue donors. LifeSource is also on track to fulfill the wishes of more donors in 2022 than any previous year.
In 2020, LifeSource set a goal of achieving 1,000 transplants from local donors in 2027. Achieving these milestones demonstrates LifeSource is well on its way to meeting that audacious goal in 2027. LifeSource credits the donation increases in part to a more integrated, collaborative process with hospitals across our service area that was rolled out in 2021.
“This milestone was possible due to our partnerships, the generosity of the people in our community and the dedication from of team to find a way to recover every possible organ every time for waiting recipients,” Peter Farstad, LifeSource Interim CEO said.
Hospital donation highlights include:
- Year-to-date in 2022, St. Cloud Hospital has partnered with LifeSource to support more organ donors than any other year in the history of our partnership: 13 organ donors and their families. The gifts of these organ donors have saved 43 lives and improved many more through tissue and eye donation. For comparison, St. Cloud Hospital supported 7 donors saving 27 lives in all of 2021; the second highest was 11 in 2013 and 2016.
- Regions Hospital has had 42 tissue donors to date, on pace to surpass the LifeSource service area milestone by 40 percent.
- In 2021 the University of Minnesota had the most organ donors in their history – 11. As of July 2022, they already have 11 organ donors.
- Sanford Fargo and Avera McKennan are both having milestone years, as measured by their partnership in fulfilling organ donation at rates never seen before in these key hospitals.
“Each of these cases begins with a tragedy; a patient has lost their life, but with the tremendous gift of organ and tissue donation, the LifeSource program is able to provide lifesaving transplants to patients across the country,” said Dr. Jacob Lyons, Intensivist Specialty Director at CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital. “Knowing that one donor can have a positive impact on many, many lives is a comfort to myself, our staff and to the loved ones of these donors in the midst of an otherwise heartbreaking situation. It has been my privilege to care for these individuals, to learn their stories and witness the graciousness of their families in the midst of heartache.”
These milestones and the lives saved were only possible because of the incredible generosity of those donors and their families. One person can save eight lives by donating organs; heal more than 75 lives by recovering tissue and restore sight for up to 10 individuals through eye donation. Examples of donated tissues include heart valves, bone, tendons, veins/arteries and skin. Donated tissues can repair, replace or reconstruct damage caused by tumors or trauma. Donated skin is used in skin grafts for burn victims, or women needing reconstructive surgery after mastectomies for breast cancer. Donated bone may help with reconstructive surgeries after traumatic injuries or bone cancers, and donated tendons can help individuals who have suffered sports-related injuries to move without pain again.
Just over half (57%) of people in the upper Midwest who visit the DMV each month to apply for or renew their driver’s license register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.
“Donation is only possible if people say ‘yes’,” said Farstad. “It’s a simple way to help others. You can register at the DMV or online at life-source.org/register.”
Donation Facts & Statistics
- Organ donation is extremely rare. Only 1 percent of people who die get the opportunity to give those gifts. That’s due to a variety of medical and circumstantial criteria, including being free of active cancer and passing away at a hospital on ventilated support.
- It takes many people working in concert to make the donation process happen in a short period of time. Watch this video to learn more about the donation process.
- One person can save eight lives by donating organs; heal more than 75 lives by recovering tissue and restore sight for up to 10 individuals through eye donation.
- Just over half (57%) of people in the upper Midwest who visit the DMV each month to apply for or renew their driver’s license register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.
- 1 person can heal more than 75 others through the gift of tissue.
- Donated tissues are used in many common surgeries and medical procedures. In fact, nearly 2.5 million tissue transplants are performed each year.
- Donated tissues are used to help:
- Treat burns
- Replace heart valves
- Restore blood flow in the body
- Reconstruct torn tendons
- Repair cleft palates
- Prevent the need for amputation
- Rebuild joints
- Complete mastectomy reconstruction
- Registering is easy – check the box on your driver’s license application or register online at life-source.org/register.
- Tissue Donation Myth & Fact: Tissue donors can still have an open casket funeral upon their passing. LifeSource works closely with Funeral Directors to ensure that donors are not visually changed after giving the gift of tissue.
- Video: What is tissue donation?
- Blog post: What is tissue donation?
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. LifeSource promotes donation in our communities through the Donate Life brand. We are relentlessly pursuing a day when no one dies waiting for a life-saving transplant. Learn more at Life-source.org.