April is National Donate Life Month. It’s a month to celebrate those who have received transplants, to recognize those who continue to wait, to honor donors and donor families and to thank registered donors for giving hope.
In 2015, organ transplants performed in the United States exceeded 30,000 for the first time annually. This incredible milestone is possible only because of donors and their families who make the generous decision to share life through donation.
Currently, over 118,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants in the U.S. About 58% of patients awaiting transplants are minorities. Sadly, 8,000 people die each year—22 people each day—because the organs they need are not donated in time.
Every 10 minutes another name is added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list.
Who can donate?
People of all ages and medical histories can be potential donors. Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. It offers patients a new chance at healthy, productive and normal lives and returns them to their families, friends and communities.
The vast majority of Americans support organ donation. However, many people overlook the important step of registering as a donor. Donors are often people who died suddenly and unexpectedly. Their families are then faced with making the decision at a time of shock and grief. Registering now relieves your family of this burden.
More than 121 million people—approximately 51% of the U.S. adult population—are
registered organ, eye and tissue donors. Yet, the wait is still long for some patients. The average waiting time for a kidney from a deceased donor is 3 to 5 years.
Each year, approximately 30,000 people are registered as tissue donors and more than 1 million tissue transplants are performed; the surgical need for donated tissue is steadily rising. One tissue donor can help save more than 50 people.