April is a special time in the organ donation and transplant community. It’s a time for us to come together to bring awareness to the life-saving action of organ donation. It’s a time for us to educate the public and encourage individuals to register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. But, most importantly, it’s a time for us to honor and celebrate the Donor Heroes who made the courageous decision to donate their organs, making transplant possible. These are things we do all year round; however, Donate Life Month provides a platform for our voice and mission to be amplified.
The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is proud to host our 2nd annual Donor Remembrance Day to provide a virtual observance for donor families, recipients, and all members of the donation community to pay tribute to our cherished donors. Participants can “plant” forget-me-not flower dedications in the virtual Donor Hero Remembrance Garden, sharing the memory of their loved ones and the impact of donation. To learn more about Donor Remembrance Day and how to participate, view the video below and visit the AOPO website.
Increase Organ Donation & Transplants
Donor Remembrance Day reminds us that donors are at the heart of donation and transplantation. As we work to implement initiatives to reach 50,000 organ transplants annually by 2026, it’s important to note the significance of increasing donors to achieve this goal. More organ donors will lead to more organs available for transplant and is an essential component to help us save more lives. System stakeholders, including Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), hospitals, and transplant programs, must work together to increase donor designations and donation authorization.
The first step in the donation process is to have registered donors. AOPO will work with our member OPOs and stakeholder partners to implement successful practices to encourage more Americans to register to be organ, eye, and tissue donors. A primary focus is to engage with diverse communities to build trust and educate community members on the importance of being a donor. By increasing the number of potential donors, those waiting for a life-saving transplant have a better chance of finding the right match.
Another focus area in our efforts is to facilitate a comprehensive systemwide collaborative, with one of the objectives being to increase donation authorization. AOPO will partner with stakeholders to identify and advocate for the most successful practices to increase donation authorization. We will focus on cultural competency and grief training to improve OPO conversations with donor families to authorize donation. We will work with hospital partners to advance the organ donor referral system to ensure OPOs are receiving timely information to begin the donor assessment and authorization process. Additionally, we will work to increase authorization in donation after cardiac death (DCD) instances.
We are dedicated to achieving 50,000 transplants by improving the donation and transplantation system in a collaborative manner. We hope that you will join us in this life-saving initiative, to find out how you can get involved visit the AOPO campaign website.
Steve Miller, AOPO CEO