Organ Donation Reaches 10-Year High in 2016

Minneapolis, MN –

LifeSource, the nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and parts of Western Wisconsin recorded its most impactful year in the past decade, helping save the lives of 587 people through organ donation. The 179 organ donors who gave the gift of life in 2016 is a 19% increase over 2015. Additionally, LifeSource facilitated eye and or tissue donation from 557 donors, which could save and heal up to 47,000 lives or more – a 21% increase over 2015. The organization also educates the public on organ, eye and tissue donation and manages the donor registries in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The region continued to see an increase in donor designation, which is now at a record 63%.

“We are encouraged that 587 people received an organ transplant in 2016 thanks to the incredible gifts that 179 donors and their families chose to give. The generous and selfless act of donation is made even more powerful thanks to our continued partnership with our 279 hospitals, 8 transplant centers, funeral directors, medical examiners and driver’s license professionals across our region,” shared LifeSource CEO Susan Gunderson. “We are grateful for the generosity of those who share the gift of life and are energized by the hope it offers those who are awaiting lifesaving and life enhancing transplants. As always, we are passionately dedicated to our mission to serve grieving families and save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.”

The success of the past year can be attributed to several factors, including an increase in patients who qualified for donation at the time of death. The increase can be partially linked to the rise in drug overdose deaths, which accounted for 3.3% of organ donation in 2010 and 12.4% of organ donation in 2016. However, with an overall 16.8% increase in donation over the same period, the generosity of the citizens in the region, specifically at the time of tragedy, is the main driver of the growth.

2016 was a landmark year for tissue donation as well, including bone, skin, heart valve and joint donations that save and heal lives. LifeSource worked with 557 generous tissue donors and their families in 2016 to save and heal up to 47,000 people in need. Medical technology continues to advance, leading to more types of tissue transplants, allowing more people to give the gift of life through tissue donation.

“As part of our mission, we care for the family of donors through our donor family aftercare program. We offer grief services, memorial events and tribute opportunities so that families can remember their loved ones who live on through their selfless act of donation,” continued Gunderson.

Even with the generosity of donor family members and the continued efforts of LifeSource and partner organizations, nearly 3,000 people in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Western Wisconsin continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. For more information about donation or to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit