By Kaitlyn Schaeffer

Last year 30,973 transplants were performed in the US, setting a record for the procedure, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. This number represents nearly a 5% increase from 2014.

“This landmark achievement is a testament to the generosity of the American public to help others through donation, and their trust in the transplant system to honor their life-saving gift,” said Betsy Walsh, president of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

About 80% of the organs that were transplanted in 2015 came from deceased donors. Deceased donors can donate more than one organ at a time, and thus have the ability to save multiple lives. “You have the power to change someone’s entire course of events, their entire lives. And that’s what our sweet boy did,” explains Krisitina Armstead, whose son suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage when he was eight. Kristina and her husband Cliff decided to donate the boy’s organs, saving people in need of kidneys, a liver, and a pancreas.

Kristinia noted that “the care for Joseph didn’t change once they realized he would not be coming back to us and that he would be becoming an organ donor. The surgeon, he did everything possible to save our child. He worked so hard to save our child.”

Brian Shepard, CEO of the United Network for Organ Sharing, cautioned that despite the increase, improvements still need to be made to the organ network’s matching system. He emphasized that more could be done to ensure that the donated organs will be accepted by the host.

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