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LifeSource Honors Wishes of 1,000+ Tissue Donors in 2022

The Most Tissue Donors in a Single Year; Will Go on to Heal More Than 75,000 People

LifeSource CEO, Kelly White, and LifeSource team members gather to raise the Donate Life flag in honor of the more than 1,000 tissue donors in the Upper Midwest in 2022.

MINNEAPOLIS – On December 19, 2022, LifeSource raised the Donate Life Flag to honor a historic milestone: fulfilling the wishes of more than 1,000 tissue donors in a single year – a record since our tissue program began in 1999.

“This amazing accomplishment requires a tremendous amount of effort, skill, collaboration and dedication, said Kyle Kinsey, Director of Clinical Services – Tissue and Donor Services Center. “But reaching this milestone was only possible because of the generosity of our community – those 1,000 people and their families had to say ‘yes’ to giving the gift of life.”

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.

Ken Berge, a tissue recipient himself and new member of the LifeSource information services team, tugged at the rope to hoist the flag during the ceremony – something he would not have been able to do prior to the transplant. In 2018 – prior to joining LifeSource – Berge received donor tissue after sustaining a shoulder injury; he’d fallen while ice fishing and dislocated his shoulder. Bone from a donor’s ankle was transplanted into his left shoulder.

Only about half (57%) of people in the upper Midwest who visit the DMV each month to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor when they apply for or renew their driver’s license.

“Saving and healing lives through organ, eye and tissue donation is only possible if people say ‘yes’” Kelly White, LifeSource CEO said. “One person can impact 75 lives with that simple act of generosity. You can register at the DMV or online at”


Tissue Donation: Facts & Statistics

  • Only about 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
  • 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?

Tissue Program History 

  • 1989 – Since our inception, LifeSource recovers hearts for life saving valve transplants benefiting both children and adults.
  • 1999 – Our tissue program begins with a few per diem employees recovering tissue. LifeSource recovers tissues from 28 people who said “yes” to donation and to saving lives. 
  • 2002 – Full time Tissue Recovery Specialists join the LifeSource team to meet the demand for tissue recovery. 
  • 2004 – The American Red Cross ends their tissue recovery program, focusing on blood donation and disaster relief programs. LifeSource sees an increase in tissue donation cases with 86 recoveries that year. 
  • 2008 – LifeSource’s Donor Services Center opens. This streamlines referral review, verification of Donor Designation, and communication with Hospitals, Funeral Homes and Medical Examiners.  
  • 2015 – LifeSource moves its headquarters to Minneapolis, MN. With the new building’s surgical space, it is no longer necessary to use hospital operating rooms for tissue recovery.  
  • 2021 – In November, LifeSource reaches the incredible milestone of honoring the wishes of 10,000 tissue donors since our tissue donation program began.  
  • 2022 – In December, LifeSource fulfilled the wishes of the 1,000th tissue donor – a record for a single year.

LifeSource is proud to be the predominant tissue recovery organization for Minnesota hospitals and hospitals across North and South Dakota.

About LifeSource

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