Feb. 14 was National Donor Day, a day celebrating those who heal and save the lives of others through donating organs, blood, tissue and marrow. It was also a day for Live On Nebraska to celebrate their most successful year to date.
In 2019, Nebraska saw more organ and tissue donations than ever before, with 331 organ transplants, 71 deceased organ donors and 608 deceased tissue donors. This correlates with a record number of transplants in the U.S. last year, with 39,718 performed.
On average, 20 people die every day from lack of available organs for transplant. One deceased donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance more than 100 lives through tissue donation, according to the American Transplant Foundation.
In late 2018, Live On Nebraska began accepting birth tissue donations, which were a contributing factor in 2019 with 201 birth tissue donors. Birth tissues include the umbilical cord, placenta and amniotic fluid.
Often discarded, birth tissues have been successful in healing burn victims, ulcers and patients with chronic wounds. Mothers can donate following full-term, planned C-section births.
Providing education about organ donation is an important part of what the organization focuses on, said Kara Cordell, marketing and PR manager at Live On Nebraska. The organization reaches out to universities and high school classes whenever they have the opportunity, Cordell said.
“Our goal there is to try to get in front of students before they’re getting their drivers’ license, because that’ll be the first opportunity they have to register as a donor,” Cordell said. In Nebraska, the minimum age to register as a donor is 16.
Live On Nebraska is currently working on educational resources to provide to schools proactively to help spread the word about donation “while making it interactive and fun,” Cordell said.
Kyle Herber, Live On Nebraska president and CEO, said his organization looks to continue their pace with organ donation.
“We are proud to have served more donor families and to provide hope and healing to more people than ever before,” Herber said. “We are committed to continual growth and providing even more opportunities to make a difference for those in need of a transplant.”
“Of course, none of this would have been possible without our donor heroes and families.”