LifeGift Offers Hope to Thousands in 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Jan. 14, 2016) – LifeGift, the federally-designated organ and tissue recovery agency, which offers hope to individuals needing transplants in 109 Texas counties in Southeast, North and West Texas, today announced that 1,297 individuals became donors in 2015. Of those donors, 38 percent were registered on the Donate Life Texas Registry, the official organ, eye and tissue donor registry for the state of Texas, which recently surpassed 8 million registered donors.
“We are always so grateful to those who make the decision to register as lifesaving donors as well as donor families who so generously donate in the midst of human loss,” said Kevin Myer, president and CEO of LifeGift. “The entire donation and transplantation system depends on the incredible act of saying ‘yes’. All of us at LifeGift are privileged to be good stewards of these acts of incredible generosity and kindness.”
From Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015, LifeGift successfully coordinated the recovery of 283 precious, lifesaving organ donors, resulting in 808 organs transplanted. Additionally, 236 transplants were coordinated from other areas of the country, bringing the total number of organ transplants coordinated by LifeGift to 1,044.
Equally as important and just as lifesaving, LifeGift recovered tissue, which includes skin, bone, tendons, ligaments, corneas, heart valves and other cardiovascular tissues from 1,014 donors during the same time period, January 2015 to December 2015, shattering all organizational records. This is 341 more donors recovered during the same time period in 2014, when LifeGift recovered 673 tissue donors.
In addition to coordinating organ and tissue recoveries, LifeGift was heavily involved on various research projects in 2015, including the Stanford Donor Heart Study, which looks at evidence-based strategies for the evaluation and acceptance of donor hearts for transplantation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genotype-Tissue Express (GETX) project, aimed at increasing the understanding of how changes in genes affect human health and disease.
“We have plans to continue and expand our role in the research front,” said Dr. R. Patrick Wood, chief medical officer for LifeGift. “When a family cannot donate a loved one’s organs or tissues for transplant, the idea of donating for research can be comforting and offers a grieving family hope as donated organs and tissues are often used to find cures and treatments for diseases and development of new drugs.”
Hope is no stranger to Ron Harbour from Houston, Texas. He clung onto it as he waited for the gift of a lifesaving heart transplant in September of 2014. Now, a year and a half later, he is volunteering with LifeGift as an Ambassador of Hope and is looking forward to welcoming his first grandchild later this year. He also finds himself on the transplant waiting list – this time for a kidney.
“My road to recovery after my heart transplant was purely based on hope,” said Ron. “And it is hope which will carry me through getting my kidney transplant.”
LifeGift has many plans to offer more hope to people like Ron in 2016. One of which is an expansion at the Houston headquarters, which will house a sophisticated call center, the Communication Center for Donation.
“Our success in 2015 gives us confidence in our plans to further impact our community through increased organ, eye and tissue donation in 2016,” said Myer. “Our work is far from done. Today, more than 13,000 Texans await the gift of life and everyday 22 people die on the transplant list. LifeGift will continue to exercise dual advocacy, championing for those waiting for a second chance and encouraging individuals and families to say ‘yes’ to the donation opportunity.”
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Established in 1987, LifeGift is a nonprofit 501 (c)3 organization that offers hope to individuals needing transplants in Southeast, North and West Texas. A founding member of Donate Life Texas, the organization that runs the organ, eye and tissue donor registry, LifeGift services 10 transplant centers and 200 donor hospitals. It is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). For more information, visit www.lifegift.org, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.