Gift of Life Donor Program, founded in 1974, is one of the oldest and largest organ procurement organizations (OPO) in the United States. Founded in 1974 by the Greater Delaware Valley Society of Transplant Surgeons, Gift of Life is part of the nationwide organ and tissue sharing network run by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Gift of Life coordinates life-enhancing tissue transplants for area residents who are in need of corneas for sight-restoring procedures, as well as skin, tissue and bone to repair injuries. The program has helped save nearly 42,000 lives through organ donation and has enhanced approximately 600,000 lives through tissue donation over the past 42 years.
Currently in the United States, more than 119,000 men, women and children are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. In Gift of Life Donor Program’s region – the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware – over 5,600 individuals are waiting for a second chance at life.
Gift of Life, founded in 1974, is one of the oldest and largest organ procurement organizations (OPO) in the United States. The non-profit, federally designated organization is one of 58 OPOs in the country, and has helped to save nearly 42,000 lives through organ donation and has enhanced approximately 600,000 lives through tissue donation over the past 42 years. Gift of Life is fortunate to serve the most giving region in the country, and has consistently ranked as the leading OPO in the nation for its successful coordination of organ donors.
“Gift of Life works 24/7, 365 days a year in partnership with the area’s 15 transplant centers and 131 acute care hospitals to save lives through organ donation.” said Howard M. Nathan, president & CEO, Gift of Life Donor Program. “We understand the importance of basic and clinical research because it has been the basis for successful advances in the field of transplantation. For example, research in immunology and pharmacology has provided organ transplant recipients with advanced anti-rejection medications that have allowed them to live long, healthy lives post-transplant.”
“Another example was in 1995, when Gift of Life pioneered a technique to coordinate organ donation after circulatory death (DCD), and supported research showing that DCD was an option for providing viable organs to save more lives. (DCD is when a donor dies from loss of circulatory and respiratory function, instead of brain death.) Gift of Life then educated many other OPOs in the U.S. about DCD, which has now increased the donor pool nearly 20%, saving the lives of nearly 3,000 people in 2016 alone.” said Nathan.
Gift of Life encourages individuals to register as organ and tissue donors. Registering as a donor is a heroic and selfless decision. It changes and saves lives, impacting not only the person in need of a transplant, but their families and the community as a whole. There’s no better gift than giving the gift of life.
Organ and tissue donors can save and benefit the lives of up to 70 people. One organ donor can give a second chance at life to up to eight people. One person can donate their kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart and intestines. Through tissue donation, a donor can enhance the lives of countless others. Tissue donation includes bone donations to repair limbs, skin donations to heal burn patients and heart valve donations to repair life-threatening heart defects. Donors can also donate their corneas, which can give the gift of sight to two recipients.