2015 growth in organ, tissue transplants and registered donors

February 2, 2016

Donor Alliance announces increase in registered organ, eye and tissue donors, 428 lives saved through organ donation and record-breaking tissue donation year, translating to more lives saved and healed in 2015

Donor Alliance, the federally designated nonprofit that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, recorded another impact year in 2015, helping save the lives of 428 people through organ donation and transplantation. In addition, the organization worked with 1,624 tissue donors and their families to recover lifesaving and healing tissue that will provide bone and skin grafts to thousands of recipients in need.

The organization, which educates the public on organ and tissue donation and manages the state donor registries in Colorado and Wyoming, also announced that 997,879 names were added to the registries in 2015. The donor designation rate, or percentage of individuals joining the state donor registry, was at an all-time high this past year in Colorado with 67.8% of the state’s licensed drivers and ID card holders on the registry and 58.6% in Wyoming. The two states maintained some of the highest donor designation rates in the country.

Donor Alliance facilitated organ recoveries from 134 donors in 2015 helping save 428 lives across the country. The most lung transplants (59) ever took place last year and the organization tied the record for heart transplants (54) in a single year.

“We are encouraged that more than 400 people received organ transplants as a result of the generous gifts each donor and their family choose to give. In addition to families, we attribute this impact to continued partnership with more than 100 hospitals in our service area, four local transplant centers and the Colorado & Wyoming Division of Motor Vehicles, whose more than 80 driver’s license offices continue to advocate organ and tissue donation to the thousands of customers they serve each year,” said Sue Dunn, Donor Alliance President and CEO. “And despite these marked achievements more than 2,700 people in Colorado and Wyoming continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant.  We are energized for a new year and as always, passionately dedicated to our mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation.”

2015 was another landmark year for tissue donation and transplantation, including bone, skin, heart valve and joint donations. Topping 2014’s record year of 1,590, Donor Alliance worked with 1,674 generous tissue donors in 2015 and recovered enough tissue to heal or save the lives of tens of thousands in need. As medical technology advances and eligibility criteria expand it has become possible to utilize more types of tissue, which has allowed more people to give the gift of life through tissue donation. Additionally, Colorado and Wyoming’s increasing number of registered donors has translated into more tissue available for transplant.

“I know firsthand how difficult it can be to lose someone you love, but it has been healing for me to know that after Michael’s death he has gone on to help others in need,” said Kathy Guerrero of Erie, Colo., whose husband became a donor following his passing last year. “It is heartening to know that so many other Colorado and Wyoming residents are making the same brave, generous choice.”

Despite the generosity of donor family members and the efforts of Donor Alliance staff and partner organizations, just over 2,700 people in the area continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. For more information about donation, or to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeColorado.org or DonateLifeWyoming.org.


ORGAN DATA 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Local Organ Donors 134 126 148 109 134
Kidney Transplants 223 203 241 176 226
Liver Transplants 100 84 109 72 79
Heart Transplants 54 47 43 37 54
Lung Transplants 44 34 45 42 59
Pancreas Transplants 25 21 24 9 10
Small Intestine Transplant 0 1 1 1 0
Total Local Organs Transplanted (Lives Saved) 446 390 463 337 428
TISSUE DATA 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Local Tissue Donors 966 1017 1,177 1,590 1,674
Potential Lives Healed through tissue donation 96,600 101,700 117,700 159,000 167,400
Bone Donors 565 555 660 830 911
Skin Donors 882 934 1076 1,386 1,401
Heart Valve Donors 101 105 111 114 117
Joint Restoration Donors 93 83 106 112 119
Colorado DDR% 67.06% 66.53% 67.27% 67.70% 67.8%
Wyoming DDR% 59.11% 59.11% 59.35% 59.58% 58.6%
Coloradoans added to the registry 830,869 918,762 874,856 866,550 912,330
Wyomingites added to the registry 87,083 92,806 91,872 85,083 85,549