(LOUISVILLE, KY, Jan. 19, 2021) – Despite a global pandemic, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates has once again broken their record of saving and enhancing lives facilitating over 1,000 heroic organ, tissue, and cornea donors in 2020.
The nonprofit organ procurement organization and their hardworking staff supported more donor families’ decisions than ever before — 178 deceased organ donors resulted in 535 organs being transplanted, which translates to over 500 lives saved, and 575 tissue donors generously healed thousands of lives with their gifts. This marks a 30% increase from 2019, which combines a 30% increase in recent years. Nationally there was a 6% increase in deceased organ donation.
Julie Bergin, KODA President, and CEO explained, “Due to the generosity of donor families and more people having joined donor registries in recent years, more lives have been saved and healed.”
“KODA always has, and always will, work to save as many lives as possible. This 30% increase in donation over last year is just a start, but we can’t do it alone. It is vital that everyone registers as an organ donor, to give hope to thousands on the waiting list,” Bergin said. Also, Bergin explains that research advances have allowed for more transplantable organs such as Hepatitis C positive donors, which is now curable in transplant patients.
The solid partnerships built with 112 hospitals and three transplant centers that KODA serves were essential to reaching the unprecedented number of donations this year. Additional partnerships key to the mission’s success is with Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Lions Eye Bank (KLEB), and Coroners throughout the service area.
KLEB reports working with 590 cornea donors in 2020, giving the gift of sight to those in need. KODA’s partner Circuit Clerks’ Trust For Life reports over 60,000 new names added to Kentucky’s confidential organ donor registry stating their wish to be a donor and help others.
“I am immensely proud of my staff and our partners. These healthcare heroes work 24/7/365. They go into hospitals, travel without much notice, and risk their health to honor the gift of donation. Without these dedicated and compassionate professionals, donation and transplantation simply would not happen.”
KODA nearly doubled its staff in 2020 and is currently hiring many more compassionate and dedicated team members. Bergin said that growth in 2020 positions KODA to help more in 2021 and beyond. “There is still much to be done to help nearly 108,000 patients still in need of the healing gifts given by organ donors. We will continue to work tirelessly to meet the need.”
With the number of people waiting for a transplant far exceeding the organs, tissue, and corneas available, the need is great. With thousands waiting, tragically, 22 die each day without receiving one. Everyone can register online as a donor to bring hope to those waiting.
The ultimate goal is to eradicate the waiting list along with COVID-19. KODA staff is always in and out of hospitals as frontline healthcare workers. Sunday, the team who chose to be vaccinated received their first round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a drive-through event, thanks to UofL Health.
If you would like to know more, please contact Shelley Snyder, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships with KODA, at 502-322-5401. For more information about organ, tissue, and cornea donation or to register as a donor, please visit our website at donatelifeky.org.