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Thank you, Arizona: Organ donors set new record


Organ donors allowed for more than 40,000 organ transplants to happen last year, a notable accomplishment for the U.S. organ transplant system. It was more transplants than any previous year. That’s according to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nonprofit that serves as the U.S. organ transplant system.

“It is also a testament to the generosity of so many inspiring donors and their courageous families who gave the gift of life,” says Dr. Matthew Cooper, president of the UNOS board of directors.

In Arizona, 315 organ donors—more than any previous year—saved the lives of 790 people last year. That’s a 14% increase in organ donors since 2018. Also in 2021, 1,651 tissue donors offered healing to potentially more than 123,000 people, and 901 ocular donors offered restored vision for up to two people each. All the above is only possible through the selfless act of donation by donors and their families. We are also so grateful for the almost 232,000 Arizonans who added themselves to the DonateLifeAZ Registry in 2021.

Donor Network of Arizona’s (DNA) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, as well as Multicultural, committees celebrated diverse outcomes through the gift of life. In 2021, there were 25 Black or African American organ donors and 357 Latino or Hispanic organ recipients—both the most Arizona has ever seen in a single year.

See the following chart for more 2021 data:  

It's not just numbers, it's personal

Marie Bernard Johnson (pictured here) is left with only the echoes of her husband’s laughter that would fill any room with joy after he passed away.

“Stephen was love unleashed,” says Marie. “He was an amazing human being with immense love for humanity, nature and animals.”

From the first night they met and danced the night away together, Marie knew Stephen was the type of person who made you want to be better.

When Stephen passed in 2020, Marie knew he had the opportunity to make that impact he always wanted on the world. Through organ donation, Stephen gave the gift of time to three people, and helped improve the lives of many through research donation.

“As a human being, one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is life,” says Marie. “I know that there are people out there who hesitate to be an organ donor. It’s OK if you have misconceptions or are scared, but find that education and choose to give the gift of time.”

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