CLEVELAND (Jan. 11, 2017) – A record number of Northeast Ohioans became organ, eye and tissue donors in 2016, Lifebanc announced Wednesday. Those organ, eye and tissue donors helped save and heal the lives of a record number of people in Northeast Ohio and beyond. Lifebanc is the non-profit organ procurement organization serving a 20-county area in Northeast Ohio.
Lifebanc facilitated the life-saving gifts of 150 organ donors in 2016, an 11.1 percent increase from 2015. A total of 435 organs were transplanted from those individuals, saving the lives of 385 people who had previously been on the transplant waiting list. 72 percent of the organs were donated to patients at one of Cleveland’s two transplant centers at the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. Nationally, the number of organ donors increased by 9.2 percent in 2016 to 9,971.
|Organs Recovered by Lifebanc in 2016|
Additionally, Lifebanc recovered corneas and tissues from 815 donors in 2016, a 5.5 percent increase over 2015. The tissues recovered from these donors have the potential to save and enhance the lives of up to 40,000 people as one cornea and tissue donor can heal up to 50 individuals. Donated tissues heal the wounds of burn patients, restore sight, improve mobility and help repair life-threatening heart defects.
“Lifebanc was honored to facilitate the donation gifts of so many people in 2016. The decision made by these individuals and their families to be organ, eye and tissue donors is truly heroic,” said Gordon Bowen, CEO, Lifebanc. “The 385 transplant recipients who have been given a second chance at life will forever be living testaments to the life-saving and selfless gifts of these legendary individuals.”
Lifebanc also continued its extensive support of the families of organ, eye and tissue donors. The families of all donors were provided with outcome letters detailing the specific impact of their loved one’s gifts. The organization’s bereavement services department also offered over 460 hours of individual grief counseling to family members of donors in 2016. In total, Lifebanc communicated with 2,115 donor family members over the course of the year.
Despite the increase in organ donors in 2016, there are still nearly 120,000 people in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and an average of 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not available. With one organ donor potentially able to save up to eight lives, it is essential that all people regardless of age or medical condition make the decision to become registered organ, eye and tissue donors.
“While we are grateful to play a part in saving the lives of many through our work in 2016, the amount of patients on the waiting list continues to far outpace the number of available donors,” said Bowen. “Thus, the need for everyone to make the thoughtful and selfless decision to be a registered organ, eye and tissue donor has never been more important.”
Registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor takes less than two minutes and can be done online at www.lifebanc.org.
This post originally appeared on Lifebanc.org.