Thousands were transplanted in 2012 because of the generosity of donors and their families
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gift of Life Donor Program–the region's non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) serving the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware–announced that the organization coordinated the recovery of 1,062 life-saving organs from 417 generous individuals in 2012—making this region the most generous in the U.S. for organ and tissue donors. Gift of Life is the only OPO in the country to have coordinated more than 400 organ donors in 2012, and for the past seven years, the organization has averaged more than 400 donors per year. Serving nearly 10.3 million people in the region, Gift of Life's coordination of nearly 40 donors-per-million-population ranks among the highest in the world, and speaks to the compassionate and giving spirit of the region.
One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and additionally can also enhance the lives of up to 40 others through gifts of tissue, cornea and bone donations. In 2012, Gift of Life coordinated 2,536 tissue donors, whose gifts may benefit up to 75,000 people. This important number includes cornea donors, who have helped to restore precious sight; bone donors, whose gifts have repaired fractures and prevented amputations; donors whose much-needed skin donations have healed burn patients; and selfless donors whose heart valves have prevented life-threatening defects.
None of these remarkable gifts would have been possible without the families and loved ones who made the selfless decision in 2012 to donate during a time of unimaginable grief: Families like Daniel Glover's.
On a cold, snowy January morning, twenty-four year-old Daniel Glover lost control of his car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike while driving to pay his respects to the family of a college friend who had recently died of cancer. When his family learned that Daniel would not survive injuries sustained during his accident, the Glovers immediately thought of donation. A frequent blood donor and registered bone marrow donor, Daniel was an athlete who cared deeply about his community. The Glovers remembered a family friend, a baseball coach in the family's town of Bergenfield, NJ, who was in need of a liver transplant, and the decision to donate was made.
"How do you say, 'Thank you,' and 'I'm sorry' at the same time?" said 52 year-old Ed Mooney, a New Jersey Little League volunteer who had coached Daniel Glover in his youth and knew the family well. Mooney had been diagnosed with cirrhosis more than five years before, and gratefully received the directed donation of Glover's liver in late January 2012. He was able to return to coaching third base in the spring with sincere gratitude towards the Glovers and a new lease on life. Mooney was one of four people whose lives were saved because of the family's generosity in supporting donation of Daniel's life-saving organs.
"We offer heartfelt thanks to families like the Glovers, who have given the ultimate gift," said Gift of Life President and CEO Howard M. Nathan. "During one of the most difficult times of their lives, their selfless act has helped save the lives of individuals like Ed Mooney and several others. We thank the Glovers—and all of our donor families in 2012—for their heartfelt generosity and compassion."
Much of the region's success in donation is also due to the strong support and commitment of the hospital communities, medical examiners and coroners' offices, as well as state Departments of Health and Transportation. Gift of Life worked hand-in-hand with 130 hospitals and 16 transplant centers in 2012 to offer every family the option of organ and tissue donation as part of routine end-of-life care. In November, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services honored 19 area hospitals with Medals of Honor for excellence in ensuring that donation was offered to every family in a compassionate and positive manner.
In 2012, Gift of Life continued to develop vital partnerships in the communities served by working closely with organizations such as the Delaware Healthcare Association, the Medical Society of Delaware and the Delaware Health and Social Services to increase donor designations in that state at an unprecedented rate. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gift of Life began work on an important public-awareness campaign with Donate Life Pennsylvania—a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life and Pittsburgh's Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE)—to increase donor designations statewide to 48% during the next three years. Also in 2012, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Association (MVA) Chief Commissioner Raymond Martinez worked with Gift of Life to visit motor vehicle offices in the region, thanking employees for supporting organ donation and committing to a larger presence for donation materials in those MVA offices.
Among its many accomplishments in 2012, Gift of Life Institute, a global leader in donation education, trained more than 400 donation professionals in family communication and consent through its partnership with the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation Authority. Established in 2004, the Institute has offered training to more than 5,000 donation professionals in the United States and over 35 countries, including Brazil, China, Singapore, and Canada.
During 2012, Gift of Life Family House—a 30-room "home away from home" that provides temporary lodging and support services to family members and transplant patients obtaining care in the Philadelphia region—provided more than 4,000 nights of lodging to transplant patients and families. The Family House also served nearly 17,000 nutritious, home-cooked meals through its Home Cook Heroes program, offering delicious, home-cooked meals to guests each day of the year.
Although Gift of Life's donation successes during 2012 are encouraging, more than 6,500 men, women and children within our tri-state region—and over 116,000 nationally—are still in desperate need of a life-saving transplant. At Gift of Life, one of the keys to our success is that we believe offering organ and tissue donation is a fundamental part of compassionate end-of-life care. Our challenge is to continue moving forward to help the thousands of people in need, and with the commitment and dedication of our partners in the organ and tissue recovery system, and the community, we will continue to bring the gift of life to many more people in 2013.
Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally designated organ and tissue transplant network serving the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. For more than 38 years, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 34,000 organ transplants, along with more than an estimated 500,000 tissue transplants. For more information on organ and tissue donation, please call Gift of Life at 1-800-DONORS-1 (1-800-366-6771) or visit at www.donors1.org.
SOURCE Gift of Life Donor Program