April 26, 2022

National Donate Life Month highlights urgent need for organ, eye and tissue donors

Madison, Wis. This month marks the 19th anniversary of National Donate Life Month, and UW Health is calling on all Wisconsinites to give hope and help save lives by registering their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.

Observed each year in April, National Donate Life Month is intended to raise awareness about the importance and need of organ, eye, and tissue donation, and to honor those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

“Our goal this month, and throughout the year, is to increase the chance that people who need a transplant will get one,” said Michael Anderson, executive director of University of Wisconsin Organ and Tissue Donation. “I encourage everyone who is not yet a registered donor to not only consider doing so today, but to then share your life-saving decision with your friends and family.”

Currently, there are more than 100,000 men, women and children awaiting organ transplants in the United States, including more than 1,500 people in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, not all these people will receive a second chance at life.

  • Approximately 6,000 people die each year (17 people each day) because the organs they need are not available.

  • On average, 150 people are added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list each day.

  • A single organ and tissue donor can save or heal the lives of up to 50 people.

  • In 2021, more than 41,000 transplants from 20,300 donors brought renewed life to patients and their families and communities across the Unites States.

UW Health encourages everybody to register their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at organdonor.gov or at the Wisconsin DMV. To those who have already registered their donation decision, thank you! Help continue to save lives by sharing the Donate Life message, educating others about the need and how their generosity can help save and heal lives.

Some important facts about organ, tissue and cornea donation:

  • Anyone can be a potential donor, regardless of age, race or medical history.

  • More than 1,500 patients in Wisconsin are awaiting life-saving organ transplants. Thousands of others could benefit from healing tissue transplants.

  • Kidneys are the organ in greatest demand — with an estimated 95,000 people across the nation awaiting one — followed by liver, heart and lungs.

  • Because conditions such as diabetes and hypertension often are more prevalent in the multicultural community, these individuals make up more than 50 percent of those on the national organ transplant list.

  • Living donation is an option for both kidney and liver transplantation.

  • More than 170 million people are registered organ, eye and tissue donors.