By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma recently had its 100th organ donor for 2015. Those 100 donors have saved 257 lives. This is only the third time the organization has reached the 100 donor mark in its history.
This mark was previously reached in 2007 with 109 donors. Last year LifeShare recovered its 100th donor on September 29 and ended 2014 with 141 donors.
LifeShare is a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) in Oklahoma. It is dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes.
“This is by far the earliest we’ve ever recovered this number of donors,” said Jeffrey Orlowski, President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeShare. “As a result of the donors’ and donor families’ generosity, we are 9 weeks ahead of last year’s life-saving pace.”
Year-to-date, LifeShare has now provided 292 organs for transplant, the third highest annual total in its history. In 2012, LifeShare provided 324 organs for transplant and in 2014 the organization provided 445 organs.
According to Orlowski, this milestone has been accomplishment because of the focus and commitment from the entire LifeShare team including staff, leadership and volunteers, along with the efforts of the Oklahoma medical community.
“We have also had incredible support and generosity from the citizens of Oklahoma,” said Orlowski. “We encourage Oklahomans to continue registering to be organ, eye and tissue donors so we can continue to save lives.”
Even though hundreds of lives have been saved this year, there are still approximately 900 Oklahomans on the waiting list for a lifesaving transplant. More than 1.64 million Oklahomans have registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors.
LifeShare works closely with five transplant centers, including OU Medical Center, Integris Baptist Medical Center, Saint Francis Hospital and St. John’s Medical Center, as well as 145 healthcare organizations in the state of Oklahoma working to facilitate donations.
Additionally, LifeShare strives to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education. The office is located at 4705 NW Expressway in Oklahoma City. There is a secondary office located in Tulsa and tissue recovery center in Oklahoma City.
LifeShare has approximately 90 staff members responsible for various tasks including organ, eye and tissue screening and recovery, medical management of potential donors, quality control services, bereavement care for families, public education and awareness, hospital development and basic administration.
There are three ways to join the LifeShare Donor Registry:
Driver’s License or State ID Card – Upon obtaining a driver’s license or state ID card, you will have an opportunity to say yes to organ, eye and tissue donation. You will also have an opportunity to donate a dollar to the Oklahoma Donor Education Fund, which provides statewide education programs to make Oklahomans aware of the importance of organ and tissue donation.
Online – You can also go online anytime and register in just minutes at www.LifeShareRegistry.org. Registering online gives you the ability to access your registry page and change your donation information.
By phone – You can call 800-826-LIFE (5433) and request that a donor registration form be sent to you. After you fill out the form and return it, your name and donation wishes will be added to the LifeShare Donor Registry.
Shari Lynn England, of Medford, received a liver transplant in 2001. “Though I have never learned the identity of my donor or his family, I will be forever grateful for the one who chose to give life beyond the grave through organ donation, England said.
“One glance at our ever-growing family reminds me how very blessed I am, while recognizing that I could have missed it all.”
For more information, visit www.LifeShareOK.org.