Los Angeles, CA—
OneLegacy, the non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation serving the seven-county greater Los Angeles area, announced on the evening of December 21 its 450th organ donor for 2015, breaking the national record for the number of organ donations coordinated in a single year by an Organ Procurement Organization (OPO).
“This milestone is significant, but there are still nearly 8,800 people in need of a transplant right here in Southern California,” said Tom Mone, Chief Executive Officer of OneLegacy. “While we have reduced deaths on the waitlist to half of what they were a decade ago, OneLegacy and our partners will re-double efforts to achieve our goal of ending deaths on the waitlists.”
The prior national record for organ donors was 447, set by fellow OPO Gift of Life in Philadelphia in 2013 and repeated in 2014. OneLegacy surpassed its own record of 432 organ donors, which was set in 2006, earlier this month. In the last 15 years, OneLegacy has increased organ donors by 74%.
“Each of these numbers should not be seen as a statistic, but as a story,” said Prasad Garimella,Chief Operating Officer of OneLegacy. “Every donation and transplantation reflects a family that has been forever changed, and a community that has come together to make each life-saving gift possible.”
OneLegacy is also on track to set a single year record of 2,550 tissue donors recovered, as well as surpass its own record for the number of corneas recovered and transplanted in 2015 – with numbers expected to reach 1,700 corneas transplanted. OneLegacy credits the increases first and foremost to the selfless decisions by individuals and families to donate life. They also credit their “best practice” electronic donor record system (digitalDONOR) that enables rapid response and more effective, streamlined collaboration. This improvement is also due to the organization’s significant investment in a highly skilled, uniquely trained team of 300 donation professionals who bring compassion and dedication to the mission of OneLegacy.
“This milestone speaks to the remarkable collaboration among our colleagues at more than 200 hospitals, 11 transplant centers, seven sheriff-coroner departments, numerous funeral homes, the Donate Life California Registry and our own OneLegacy donation professionals here in Southern California,” added Tom Mone. “Their dedication and compassion makes it possible to help more individuals and families than ever before to save and heal lives through donation.”
One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people by donating their heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and small intestines. On average, one tissue donor can heal the lives of up to 50 people by donating their corneas, skin, bones and heart valves, among others.
Nationwide, more than one million people are in need of life-saving and healing organ, eye and tissue transplants each year, and an average of 22 patients die every day while waiting simply because an organ did not become available in time. The ongoing and significant need for additional organ donors is what drives OneLegacy to produce and bring together the national Donation and Transplant Community to honor donors and celebrate recipients in the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade. Seen by 40 million Rose Parade viewers on TV and in person on New Year’s Day, the Donate Life float serves as the world’s most visible campaign to inspire organ, eye and tissue donation.