Happy 30th Birthday, LifeGift

On Friday, Aug. 18, LifeGift celebrated a birthday. 

The organization, formerly known as Gulf Coast Independent Organ Procurement Organization, turned 30 years old. 

“For 30 years, LifeGift has offered hope to donor families, transplant recipients and those waiting on a second chance,” said Kevin Myer, president and CEO of LifeGift. “While we have evolved over the last 30 years to meet the changing needs of the communities we serve, one thing has stayed the same: our commitment to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.” 

We thought we would share just a few highlights from our last 30 years: 

1989: Gulf Coast Independent Organ Procurement Organization is renamed to LifeGift.

1994: LifeGift’s Donor Family Bereavement Program (now Donor Family Services) was established. 

1995: LifeGift opens a 24-hour, state-of-the-art Communications Center (now Communication Center for Donation) in Houston to field referrals and inquiries about donation. 

2001: Tropical Storm Allison submerges Houston, including the Texas Medical Center, in 33 inches of rain. The LifeGift tissue recovery team braves the elements to safely transport lifesaving and life-enhancing tissue during the storm. 

2003: Nearly 200 runners and walkers attend LifeGift’s inaugural 2nd Chance Run in Fort Worth, promoting organ and tissue donation awareness. 

2006: The Glenda P. Dawson Donate Life Texas Registry is officially launched.

2008: Hurricane Ike, the third-costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States, slams the Gulf Cost and devastates part of Houston. The LifeGift staff hunkers down in the Texas Medical Center hospitals and hotels and recovers a donor during the hurricane and its aftermath, saving five lives. 

2010: The Glenda P. Dawson Donate Life Texas Registry reaches a milestone: More than 1 million Texans registered their decision to become organ, eye and tissue donors upon their deaths. 

2012: LifeGift becomes partial owner of AlloSource, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit providers of skin, bone, and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures. 

2014: The Donate Life Transplant Games of America are hosted in Houston, Texas. Team Texas surpasses all expectations with more than 300 team members. 

2015: LifeGift plays an integral role in the first skull, scalp and kidney/pancreas transplant. The story makes headlines across the nation and throughout the world. 

2015: A groundbreaking ceremony is held at LifeGift’s corporate office in Houston to make room for a new Communication Center for Donation, a 24/7 lifeline to organ and tissue donation as well as a sophisticated training center.  

2015: LifeGift brings the Donate Life Texas 2nd Chance Run to Houston. Although the race was canceled due to heavy rain, high winds and thunder and lightning, it did not dampen the spirit of the 500 who showed up ready to run. 

2016: The inaugural Hispanic Transplant Symposium takes place to advance the care of Hispanics with end-stage organ disease. LifeGift, Nora’s Home and The Living Bank collaborate to bring this event to the Texas Medical Center. 

2016: More shovels are needed for yet another groundbreaking ceremony, this time in Fort Worth for a new building slated to open in late 2017.

2017: History is made in Lubbock as the Donate Life Texas 2nd Chance Run comes to West Texas. 

We would like to thank our dedicated LifeGift staff and board of directors; our hospital and community partners; and our Ambassadors of Hope, our LifeGift volunteers, for making 30 years possible.

Here’s to 30 more of years of saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation!

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