This blog is co-authored by representatives of the Northwest Kidney Council and Donate Life Northwest. NWKC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting safety and access to quality care for the kidney community in Oregon and Washington. Donate Life Northwest’s mission is to save lives and improve health through the promotion of organ, eye, and tissue donation.
April is Donate Life Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation. Every year, thousands of people in the United States are in need of a life-saving transplant, and by becoming an organ donor, you have the power to save lives and make a difference in the world.
Organ donation is a selfless act that can have a profound impact on others. Regionally, in Oregon and Washington, tissue donors actually can enhance the lives of up to 125 others.
Despite the importance of donation, there is a significant shortage of donors in the United States. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, as of March 2023, there are over 104,000 people waiting for a life-saving transplant in the United States alone. Sadly, on average, 20 people die every day in the United States waiting for a transplant that never comes.
Organ donation is particularly important for the kidney community. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 Americans need kidney transplants each year. This staggering number reflects the growing prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the United States, which is often caused by conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Kidney transplantation is considered the best treatment option for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), as it offers improved quality of life and long-term survival compared to dialysis. However, the demand for kidneys far exceeds the availability of organs from deceased and living donors, leading to prolonged wait times and significant challenges for patients in need of a kidney transplant.
A few sobering statistics from the Organ Procurement & Transplant Network and U.S. Renal Data System 2022 annual report:
There are approximately 8,409 Oregonians living with ESRD and 766 waiting for a kidney transplant.
There are approximately 15,306 Washingtonians living with ESRD and 1,330 waiting for a kidney transplant.
Fortunately, there are ways to help. By signing up to be an organ, eye, tissue, and blood donor, you can help save lives and make a difference in the world. Signing up is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. Oregon and Washington residents and can register to be an organ donor when renewing your driver's license or state ID, or you can sign up online at Donate Life Northwest.
This April, take the time to learn more about organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation and consider becoming a donor yourself. Your decision to donate can have a life-saving impact on others and help bring hope and healing to those in need. Together, we can make a difference and help ensure that every person in need of a transplant has the chance to live a full and healthy life.