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The Gift: An in-depth look at organ donation

Posted at 9:45 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-24 15:26:32-04

This month, the United States hit a milestone — a world record, in fact: one million organ transplants. And behind each one is a story. We’re taking an in-depth look at the process, the need and the gift of organ donation.

Waiting is commonplace when it comes to organ donation. On average, 20 people die each day waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

Tennesseans, though, are living up to the state's volunteer spirit by leading the way in donations.

“We rank somewhere between number one and number three per capita for organ donations in the United States,” said Jill Grandas.

Grandas is the Executive Director of Tennessee Donor Services, a tissue and organ bank that recruits donors and coordinates almost every aspect of transplants. She says medical advances mean more people than ever are candidates for a transplant.

“Over the years, the list grows and grows because the miracle of transplantation works,” Grandas said.

Unfortunately, the need far outpaces the give.

“There are over 3,000 patients waiting in Tennessee. There are over 106,000 patients waiting in the United States,” said Grandas.

One organ donor can save up to eight lives with their heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and intestines. You can save or heal even more — up to 75 people — with the gift of tissue.

Whatever the donor chooses to donate, it is done in such a manner where an open casket funeral is always possible.

If you are interested in learning more about organ donation, visit Be The Gift Today website.

NewsChannel 5 will be sharing more stories all week: from those who have received a lifesaving transplant, are waiting for one, or have been the family of a teenage donor.