Just 1% of People Who Die Eligible for Organ Donation
UNDATED -- This Sunday is not only Valentine's Day, but it's also National Organ Donor Day, which is not a coincidence since it is the day of hearts.
Erin Lilliencrantz is the Communications Coordinator for LifeSource a non-profit dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation.
She says 70 percent of Minnesotans have signed-up to be a donor on their driver's license. However, only one percent of the people who die are eligible to be a donor.
To become a donor you must pass away in a hospital, be on ventilated support, and experience brain death or non-survivable injury.
Thankfully, that one donor can help save up to 75 lives.
So one donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation, up to two lives for eye donation, and up that to 75 lives through tissue donation.
Lilliencrantz says once a potential donor dies they have a short window of opportunity between 24 and 48 hours to harvest the organs.
They partner with over 300 hospitals and nine transplant centers throughout the region to help that happen.
Despite the pandemic, 2020 was their second-highest number of organ donations in their 30-year history with 185 local donors saving 603 lives. They do test every donor for COVID-19 and they have to be negative.
There are over 3,000 people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota currently waiting for a transplant, and 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant.