Why Become a Donor?
Organ, eye and tissue donors offer recipients a second chance at life, but the need for donations is much greater than the number available — and every day more people are added to the waiting list.
Donate Life Kentucky consists of organ, eye and tissue nonprofits around the state, dedicated to educating on the importance of donation and encouraging everyone to become registered donors. KODA, KY Circuit Courts Clerks and Kentucky Lions Eye Bank helped establish the Donor Registry.
Eleanor was on full life support after her birth in 2010. Tests revealed a congenital heart defect. Doctors said a transplant was the only option, and she was added to the national waiting list for a heart transplant. She is alive today because of organ donation. Eleanor’s parents know few details but have sent a letter of deep gratitude to their donor and family. Eleanor is now a big sister and a lively spirit to be around!
See more Gift of Life stories here.
A Growing Need For New Donors
Why Donate Life?
- One organ donor can save up to eight lives
- One tissue donor can heal more than 50 lives
- Every year over 1,000 Kentuckians have eyesight restored through a cornea transplant
- All donor families receive grief support through our Aftercare Program
Did You Know?
All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation.
One of the biggest myths is that donation is against some religions. In fact, most religions regard it as a final act of love, charity and generosity.
Wealthy and famous people have to wait, just like everyone else.
The misperception that celebrities receive transplants more often is just a result of how much more attention is paid to their lives, as opposed to the public.
Anyone, at any age, can be considered for organ donation.
There are no age limits. Parents or guardians must authorize donation for those under 18, but the oldest donor in Kentucky was 83. She saved 3 lives.
Need For Donors
What Can I Donate?
There are various organs on the list, for a variety of transplant needs. Today, more than 114,000 Americans, 1,000 Kentuckians and 1,000 Hoosiers are awaiting one of these life-saving organs.
Cornea transplant is the most common of all transplants performed, exceeding 46,000 per year in the United States. Thanks to advances in pharmacology, medical instruments, and surgical techniques, cornea transplants exceed a 95% success rate.
The cornea protects the eye from dust and germs and is responsible for focusing. Leading causes for transplant: Hereditary, glaucoma, injury including burns and abrasions, disease and infection.
Bone, cartilage, fascia, heart valves, ligaments, pericardium, skin, tendons, and veins are all included with tissue donation. These donations are used for many reasons to save and heal recipients:
- Burn victims: Paper-thin skin is unobtrusively recovered from a donor and used as a biological bandage, preventing infection and allowing the recipient to heal until their own skin can grow back.
- Cancer patients: Bone tumors, which would have required amputation in the past, are now replaceable due to donated bone. Bone can also be used in spinal surgeries, hip replacements, and dental surgery.
- Babies: Donated heart valves are often used to save the lives of babies born with defects and heart conditions.
- Athletes: Donated ligaments and tendons often help restore mobility for athletes with an irreversible injury.
Living donors can provide many types of organs, including the kidney and segments of the liver, lung, and pancreas without reduced function to their own bodies.
Separate from the Kentucky Donor Registry, living donation is not included when you register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor online or at the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. Once an individual decides to be a living donor, he or she must qualify through a hospital transplant program to be considered.