Colorado and Wyoming Report Record Year for Tissue Donation  |  January 29, 2015

Donor Alliance, the organ procurement organization serving Colorado and Wyoming, announced several milestones in donation for 2014. The number of tissue donors increased 35% from 2013’s record year, with 1,590 generous tissue donors providing enough tissue to heal or save the lives of an estimated 159,000 people.

Donor Alliance also announced the addition of 950,000 names to the state donor registries in 2014. The donor designation rate, or percentage of individuals joining the state donor registry, was at an all-time high in 2014, with 67.7% of Colorado’s licensed drivers and ID card holders on the registry and 59.58% in Wyoming. The two states have some of the highest donor designation rates in the country.

Read more about 2014’s landmark year here.

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Mid-America Transplant Services Launches Foundation and $200,000 in Wellness Grants  |  January 26, 2015

MTS Logo-2 colorMid-America Transplant Services, the organ procurement organization serving eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and northeast Arkansas, just announced the launch of a charitable foundation and $200,000 in wellness grants.

The foundation will enhance MTS’ current support for patients and donor families and provide community support through grants for wellness organizations and eventually for scholarships.

These new initiatives will help align community resources and encourage health and wellness in the community. One of the spring grants will be focused on increasing the amount of healthy food distributed by food pantries.

Continue reading about this grant here.

Tissue Recipient Now Helps Provide Allografts for Patients  |  January 22, 2015

IMG_0086Thirteen years ago, Wendy experienced a medical nightmare. After back surgery, she contracted a rare staph infection that spread into several spinal discs. She was unable to walk and spent months in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics until she underwent a life-saving procedure.

Doctors performed a four-level discectomy to remove the infected bone and tissue to prevent the infection from spreading to her spinal cord. Wendy’s doctors used allograft bone and tissue in the procedure, which was a success.

“I’m proud to say I made a 100-percent recovery and returned to work full-time five months following that surgery,” said Wendy.

With her background in the medical field, Wendy now distributes allografts for patients in need. Her personal connection inspires her every day as she helps honor the gift of tissue donation.

“I lead an amazing life. I am able to travel, dive with great white sharks, ride a motorcycle across different continents and play sports. I am so grateful to my donor and so pleased that I’m able to help donated tissue get to patients.”

Tissue Recipient Completes Marathon in Honor of Donor  |  January 16, 2015

Jen As a marathon runner, Jen was accustomed to running through the pain. She tore her meniscus while training for a race and although she tried to take care of it on her own, she ran two more marathons and realized she needed to see a doctor. Three surgeries later, instead of improving, her pain worsened.

“Struggling with my knee issues for more than three years, I felt beaten down both physically and emotionally,” Jen said. “My goal of returning to running eventually changed to just simply wanting to walk down a flight of stairs, kneel at church, walk my dog, or even go one day without excruciating pain radiating from my knee.”  

In 2011, she met with Dr. Brian Cole at Rush University Medical Center. He assessed Jen’s situation and told her she was a candidate for a meniscus transplant. She was placed on the waitlist for a new meniscus. After a four-month wait, a match came up. Donor cartilage must be matched with a recipient based on size in order for the transplant to have the best chance of success.

The procedure was more invasive than her previous surgeries and Jen faced a challenging recovery. Although she struggled with aspects of her healing process, her donor and donor family were never far from her thoughts.

The actual thought of having another person’s tissue in my body has never bothered me,” she said. “To the contrary, it provided perspective during some of the most difficult times throughout my recovery. The loss of life and the struggle their family endured because of it helped me appreciate all that I have and provided motivation for me to get back to 100 percent.”

During her recovery, Jen set a goal for herself: she wanted to run one final marathon as a tribute to her meniscus donor. She accomplished her goal in October 2014, completing her fourth and final race. She sent her finisher’s medal to her donor’s family to express her gratitude.

There are truly no words to describe how appreciative I am for the opportunities I’ve been given with my new meniscus,” she said. “The pain of my own torn meniscus pales in comparison to the pain of the family who lost their loved one.”

Several States Set Donation Record in 2014  |  January 13, 2015

donate_life for powerpointDonor Network of Arizona and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network both announced that 2014 was a record year for donation in their service areas.

Donor Network of Arizona reported the highest number of tissue donors ever as they honored the gift of donation from 1,224 people.  Tissue donation can provide life-saving and life-enhancing possibilities for many recipients across the United States and around the world.

According to Gift of Hope, the organ procurement organization serving Illinois and northwest Indiana, 1,908 donors and their families authorized the donation of bone, skin, heart valve and other tissue for transplant during the year.

None of this would be possible without the generosity of each tissue donor and their family’s ability to look beyond their own grief to envision the healing potential of donation.