"On Donor Remembrance Day, the donation and transplantation community come together to honor and celebrate donor heroes who have given the gift of life through organ, eye, and tissue donation," explains Steve Miller, CEO, AOPO. "By sharing their donation stories in our virtual Donor Hero Garden, families commemorate their loved ones and feel comfort knowing their courageous decision enabled others to live."
AOPO expects to collect thousands of remembrances. Those interested in participating should visit the Donor Remembrance Day website and "plant" a forget-me-not flower in the virtual Donor Hero Garden. Participants can share their personal donor stories and photos on the website and via social media. Those who submit a Donor Hero dedication will receive a forget-me-not flower seed packet to plant in their own gardens this Spring.
The garden and Donor Remembrance Day help to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and furthers AOPOs' 50,000 Organ Transplants by 2026 Campaign. The campaign seeks to save more lives by increasing donations and transplants, and implementing a series of system-wide improvement initiatives, including:
Expanding collaboration across the AOPO membership and among all stakeholders
Reducing health inequities to improve accessibility of organ transplants in minority communities
Maximizing organ utilization by transplant programs
Driving innovation to increase donation and maximize transplantation
AOPO's goal is to continually improve to save as many lives as possible. In 2020, organ donation from deceased donors in the United States set a record for the 10th year in a row. Notably, 36,548 organs from 12,588 deceased donors were transplanted, either individually or in multi-organ combinations. This resulted in 33,309 lifesaving transplants from deceased donors in 2020 and an overall total of 39,034 transplants performed in the United States from both living and deceased donors. These are world-leading rates of transplantation that have helped shrink the transplant waitlist and save more lives. But more can be done, and AOPO's campaign will help increase donation and transplantation rates year over year.
"In the spirit of Donor Remembrance Day, we are committed to better serving patients in end-stage organ failure. We are stewards of the precious gifts granted by donor heroes and their courageous families. As such, we should continue our efforts to promote systemwide accountability and help foster incentives to better utilize organs that are gifted by the heroic donors," explained Joe Ferreira, AOPO President. "That is why AOPO is advocating for systemwide education, regulatory improvements, and stakeholder collaboration through our campaign."
To learn more about Donor Remembrance Day and the 50,000 Campaign, visit www.AOPO.org.