FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National & Local Breakthrough Year for Lives Saved Through Organ Donation
LOUISVILLE, KY. – Each year, April marks National Donate Life Month to celebrate transplant recipients, remember heroic donors and families, and honor those waiting for the gift of organ, cornea, and tissue donation.
2017 was a national and local breakthrough year for the mission of donation and transplantation. Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) reached the second highest number of lives saved through organ transplantation ever in its 30-year history – 361 organ transplanted organs.
KODA’s family support and clinical teams worked with 108 heroic organ donors and families resulting in 361 organs recovered and transplanted. Also, 330 tissue donors in KODA’s service area healed thousands of lives.
Julie Bergin, RN, BSN, MHA, is President and Chief Executive Officer at KODA, which was founded in 1987. Bergin stepped into the lead role at the non-profit organization in June 2017. “Our mission is to honor the gift of donation, saving as many lives as possible while maintaining a profound respect for those who gave. We know this lifesaving milestone is not possible without the generosity of donor families who said ‘yes’ to saving those in need,” said Bergin. In 2010, 398 organs were transplanted through KODA’s program, which is the record year.
Nationally, the number of deceased organ donors in the United States surpassed 10,000 for the first time, according to preliminary data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which serves as the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under federal contract. For the year, organs were recovered from 10,281 donors, representing a 3.1 percent increase over 2016 and an increase of 27 percent since 2007.
A total of 34,768 organ transplants were performed in 2017 with organs from both deceased and living donors, according to preliminary data. This total is a 3.4 percent increase over 2016 and marks the fifth consecutive record-setting year for transplants in the United States.
As one of 58 organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the U.S., KODA’s service area includes 114 counties in Kentucky, four counties in southern Indiana and two counties in western West Virginia. (Six northern Kentucky counties are served by the OPO in Cincinnati). Dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation, KODA was formed to establish a statewide educational and procurement network. KODA is an independent, non-profit organ and tissue procurement agency that employees almost 80 people.
“I am very proud of our employees,” Bergin said. “Our team members work 24/7/365 to honor the gift of donation. The people who work for KODA, and our partner organizations, are some of the most dedicated, compassionate and accountable you will ever meet. Time and time again, they surpass expectations, and work tirelessly to support families, educate our community, and save the most lives possible. It is certainly a team effort. This process wouldn’t be possible without our Hospital partners, Transplant Centers, Circuit Clerks Offices, Medical Examiners, Coroners, and Funeral Homes who support this mission each day.”
One organ donor can potentially save eight lives through transplantation of these life-saving organs – heart, two lungs, two kidneys, liver, pancreas and small intestine. One tissue donor can heal more than 50 lives, including gifts such as heart valves, bone and connective tissue.
Like all OPOs, KODA is federally designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As an accredited tissue bank, KODA Tissue Operations is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). KODA is a member of UNOS, a government-chartered nationwide network operating OPTN under federal contract with HHS.
About Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates
Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) is dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. KODA was formed in 1987, pulling together two hospital-based organ procurement groups, to establish a statewide educational and procurement network. KODA is an independent, non-profit organ and tissue procurement agency and was recognized by Louisville Business First as the Nonprofit of the Year in 2011. KODA currently serves 114 counties in Kentucky, 4 counties in southern Indiana and 2 counties in western West Virginia.
For more information, visit http://www.kyorgandonor.org
Media Contact Information:
Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates
Cell – 502-322-5401
10160 Linn Station Road
Louisville, KY 40223