COLUMBUS, Ohio – According to Lifeline of Ohio, once every 48 hours, an Ohioan dies waiting for a life-saving organ transplant – in the last ten years, more than 2,000 Ohioans have died waiting.

April is National Donate Life Month. As transplantation of hearts, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and livers has emerged as the preferred and most successful treatment of many life-threatening diseases, the need for these life-saving gifts has increased. Today there are more than 123,000 Americans on the transplant waiting list, with more than 3,300 waiting at one of ten transplant centers in Ohio.

Unlike other medical afflictions, there is no need to race for a cure for these individuals. The cure exists, and it depends on the generous decision of one person to share life at the end of life. It is simply people helping people.

Supporters of organ donation stress the importance of registering your decision to donate is critical because the opportunity to donate is so rare. In 2014, 325 Ohioans donated organs at the time of their death. Their Gift of Life resulted in 1,074 life-saving transplants. If that number seems small, it is because organ donation occurs primarily when a person dies on a ventilator. This occurs in less than one percent of all deaths.

The wait for a transplant is unique to every individual. Some wait years. Some wait months. In rare cases, lucky people wait only days or weeks for a call that says the needed organ is available. In all cases having your name on the transplant waiting list puts your future in the hands of a stranger.

For more information on organ donation, visit their website at lifelineofohio.org or call 1-877-223-6667. To register for organ donation, visit registerme.org.

Stats from Life Line of Ohio:
• The national waiting list for organ transplants is rising at an alarming rate, with nearly 120,000 individuals currently on the list.
• 58.6 percent of Ohioans are registered organ, eye and tissue donors.
• In Ohio, there are more than 2,900 people – 615 in Central Ohio – waiting for an organ transplant at any time, and hundreds more await tissue and corneal transplants.
• Approximately 22 times each day a man, woman or child dies for lack of an available organ. Once every 48 hours, an Ohioan dies waiting.
• In 2016, 358 Ohioans shared the Gift of Life through organ donation at the time of their death. Through their unselfish generosity, 1,135 organs were transplanted.
• In 2016, 93 individuals in Central and Southern Ohio shared the Gift of Life through organ donation.
• In Central and Southern Ohio in 2016, 534 individuals shared the Gift of Healing through tissue donation and 172 individuals gave the Gift of Sight through cornea donation.
• 33,606 transplants were performed in the United States in 2016. 5,978 of those transplants were living donations.
• An average of 85 organ transplants are performed every day in the United States.
• Each year more than one million Americans receive a donated tissue transplant.
• A single donor potentially can save the lives of eight people and restore the lives of up to 50 more by donating vital organs (heart, two lungs, two kidneys, liver, pancreas and small bowel) and tissue (corneas, bone, fascia, skin, veins and heart valves).