A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates announces record-breaking 2021 with more than 100 donors

Despite a global pandemic, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) have again broken their record of saving and enhancing lives with more than 1,000 heroic organ, tissue, and cornea donors in 2021.

The nonprofit organ procurement organization supported the decisions of more donor families than ever before — 189 organ donors and 484 tissue donors resulted in 536 organ transplants and more than 500 lives saved. 2021 was the fourth consecutive year of growth, resulting in a 75% increase compared to the number of local organ donors in 2017.

“Despite the global pandemic, generosity still exists. The proof of that is the willingness of donor families that have said ‘yes’ to donation, during some of their worst moments,” said Julie Bergin, KODA President and CEO. “There has also been a continued increase in the number of registered donors that will help to save and heal more lives in the future.”

Partnerships built with 112 hospitals and area transplant centers that KODA serves were essential in reaching the record-breaking number of donations in 2021. KODA has additional partnerships with the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Lions Eye Bank (KLEB), and Coroners that are also key to the mission’s success.

KLEB reported 653 cornea donors gave the gift of sight in 2021. Additionally, KY Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life reports more than 94,000 people joined Kentucky’s confidential organ donor registry, stating their wish to be a donor and help others.

“There is a type of person, who tries to do the right thing every day no matter what— We call these people heroes. The heroes of our 2021 success are our staff and partners. Without these dedicated and compassionate heroes along with our amazingly generous donor families, donation and transplantation simply would not happen,” said Bergin.

Currently, the number of people waiting for a transplant far exceeds the available organs, tissues, and corneas. Unfortunately, with thousands waiting, 20 people die each day without receiving a lifesaving transplant.

Those interested in becoming a donor can register online at RegisterMe.org to bring hope to those waiting. For more information about organ, tissue, and cornea donation, please visit donatelifeky.org.

Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates

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