(SEATTLE, WA) – For the sixth consecutive year, LifeCenter Northwest (LCNW) – the federally designated, nonprofit organ procurement organization (OPO) serving Alaska, Montana, North Idaho, and Washington – has achieved major milestones for both the number of organ donors and organs transplanted. As a direct result, more transplant recipients than ever before were given a second chance at life and more families found solace in their grief knowing their loved one left behind a legacy of giving and generosity.
Working in close collaboration with hospital partners and local transplant centers, LCNW successfully coordinated the recovery of life-saving organs from 246 generous donors last year – a 14 percent increase from 2016. These gifts gave 742 people a second chance at life through transplantation.
“This progress would not be possible without the kindness, hard work, and commitment of so many people,” said Kevin O’Connor, President & CEO of LifeCenter Northwest. “From the generous donors and their families, to the dedicated staff at LCNW, donor hospitals, transplant centers and many other partners across our large service area.”
In 2017, LCNW also recovered tissue from 533 donors in Montana, N Idaho, and Washington. Tissue recovered includes bones, skin, tendons, nerves, and heart valves. These gifts can help infants born with congenital heart defects, promote healing for burn victims, prevent amputation for veterans with traumatic nerve damage, and restore health and function for many other patients. LifeCenter Northwest is one of only 10 tissue donation organizations that recovers nerves for transplant, a program they continue to grow.
Organ donation and transplantation numbers have also increased on a national level with the number of deceased organ donors topping 10,000 for the first time. Gifts from these generous individuals, together with over 6,000 living donors, resulted in nearly 34,800 organ transplants across the U.S. in 2017.
O’Connor added, “We are deeply indebted to each and every person involved in the donation and transplantation process. Their dedication to giving the gift of life inspires us to help more and more people in need every year.”
Despite the record number of transplants regionally and across the country, the number of people in need of a life-saving transplant is still great. More than 115,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list, and roughly 2,500 of those patients reside in the LifeCenter Northwest service area.