CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For a second consecutive year, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education saw a record year for donations in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is remarkable that the pandemic did not affect us in the way that is has affected a number of our healthcare partners,” said Colleen Sullivan, communications director for CORE.
In 2020, CORE worked with 324 organ donors and donor survivors, an increase of 28 percent from 2019, and 1,224 tissue donors, a jump of nine percent.
In all, CORE officials said 792 lives were saved by the donations, a 20 percent rise, with 86 donated hearts, 442 donated kidneys, 206 donated livers and two donated intestines.
All of those organ donations were higher than in 2019.
For healing, through cornea and tissue donations, there was a 12 percent increase in 2020 impacting an estimated 90,000 people.
A 2019 state law has led to more than 25,000 people registering as organ donors when they purchased state hunting and fishing licenses with the state Division of Natural Resources.
COVID-19 closures at Division of Motor Vehicles sites, though, have affected registrations via driver’s licenses.
In all, Sullivan said 36 percent of West Virginia’s residents were currently registered organ donors.
Becoming a donor, she said, was a simple as registering with CORE online here.
“It takes less than 30 seconds to register,” Sullivan said. “You don’t have to wait until you go back to the DMV. You can make that decision today.”
Someone is added to the national transplant waiting list every ten minutes, according to CORE.
CORE is one of 57 federally-designated, non-for-profit organ procurement organizations in the United States.
Those with the organization work with 140 hospital partners and seven transplant centers largely West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and Chemung County, New York.
“For 2021, my hope is that we continue to have another record-breaking year,” Sullivan said.