Against all odds, DonorConnect managed to set a record amount of donations and transplants in 2020.
According to their website, DonorConnect is a non-profit organization “that facilitates, coordinates, registers and advocates for donors and donor families in the Mountain West.”
DonorConnect serves millions of families, 94 hospitals and three transplant centers, including Primary Children’s Hospital, Intermountain Medical Center and University of Utah Hospital. By collecting donations of organs, eyes and tissues, DonorConnect helps save and heal lives, honor donors and educate and inspire, as said in their mission statement.
While most donations come from the family of the deceased and must be acquired under strict conditions, not all donations are collected that way. Tissue donations, for example, can be harvested from a living donor. Consequently, there was a 17% increase in tissue donations. The donation process is actually quite meticulous. For an organ donation to be considered viable, the donor must pass away in a hospital while on a ventilator. As convoluted as it may seem, these protocols ensure that the organs are as healthy as possible.
Dixie Madsen is the public education and public relations manager for DonorConnect. She’s worked there for 14 years. Madsen began working with the organization after seeing how much of a difference a donation could make in someone’s life.
She spoke of being concerned about how quarantine and the pandemic may affect the outcome of those who were on the transplant list. Her favorite part of working with DonorConnect is working with the donor families who, despite their loss, see the importance of what an organ can do for another and how their lost loved one can live on in another and give both parties a second chance at life.
With a 20% increase in organ donors, there was a 25% increase in organ transplants: 482 to be exact.
Bryson Quinny received a donor heart on March 5, 2020. Before his lifesaving operation, Quinny suffered from heart failure that landed him in the hospital in 2019. He was put on the transplant list and played what he called the “waiting game,” hoping for that perfect match. His close friend wasn’t so lucky; they passed away before receiving a transplant. It just goes to show how much of a difference a simple check mark can make.
When applying for a driver’s license, all that is required to be done is to check the “yes” box under organ donor.