Home // Most Successful Year Ever for Organ and Tissue Donation in Colorado and Wyoming in 2019

Most Successful Year Ever for Organ and Tissue Donation in Colorado and Wyoming in 2019

Generous donor registry rates, strong local partnerships and process improvements following decade-long performance excellence journey credited for record-breaking year in region

Donor Alliance, the federally designated non-profit organization that facilitates organ and tissue donation in Colorado and most of Wyoming, recorded the most successful year the region has ever seen in 2019, helping save the lives of 596 people through organ donation and save and heal thousands more through tissue donation.


The generosity of the donors and their families in Colorado and Wyoming helped to shatter several records, including:

  • Record 191 organ donors saving the lives of 596 people through organ donation and transplantation.
  • Record 2,118 tissue donors providing bone and skin grafts to save and heal the lives of tens of thousands of recipients in need.

Organ Donation in CO and WY

In 2019, Donor Alliance facilitated more organ transplants than ever by 19%, exceeding the previous high set in 2018, and a 29% increase since 2013. In addition, the organization reported a 21% increase in tissue donors over the previous record with 2,118 tissue donors, including 1,950 skin donors and 127 heart valve donors. Through procedures like skin grafting and reconstructive surgeries, these lifesaving and healing donations will help thousands of people regain mobility and lead active lives after disease or trauma.

organ-donation-CO-WY“Each day, our staff works tirelessly to save the 2,000 lives in our region waiting for a lifesaving transplant while also supporting the families of donors that lean on us to honor their loved one’s heroic decision to become a donor,” said Sue Dunn, Donor Alliance president and CEO. “Achieving our simple, yet powerful mission is made possible by the incredible generosity of the Colorado and Wyoming residents that have signed up to join the organ and tissue donor registry. This support, combined with our strong hospital partnerships and mission-driven culture, helped to save and heal more lives in our region than ever before.”

More than one million residents signed up to become donors in 2019, with 1,003,817 in Colorado and 88,922 names in Wyoming being added to the organ, eye and tissue donor registries. The two states continue to maintain some of the highest donor designation rates, or percentage of individuals joining the state donor registries, in the country. Colorado reached number one in the nation in 2018 with a 69% DDR and Wyoming set another record this year at 63%, the highest rate ever for the state. Both states far surpass the national average of 49%, according to Donate Life America.

In addition to the incredible local support for donation, the progress made this year is also a result of a number of process improvements made through the organization’s decade-long performance excellence journey, which culminated with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2018. These advancements included better processes to identify and refer potential organ donors after cardiac death and streamlined communications with hospital partners to improve the timely notification of potential organ and tissue donors. As medical advances help eligibility criteria expand, medical professionals are also able to maximize organ and tissue donation more than ever before, allowing more people to give the gift of life.

Despite the year’s incredible achievements for donation and transplantation across the region, nearly 2,000 people in the area continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. With these patients in mind, Donor Alliance continues to tirelessly educate the public on the need for donation and collaborate closely with 115 acute care hospitals, four transplant centers, division of motor vehicles and other partners throughout the two-state area. For more information about donation, or to sign up as an organ, eye and tissue donor, please visit DonateLifeColorado.org or DonateLifeWyoming.org.

Organ and Tissue Donation by the Numbers

ORGAN Donation2013201420152016201720182019
Local Organ Donors148109134139144160191
Kidney Transplants241176226233246268325
Liver Transplants1097279848898119
Heart Transplants43375454435963
Lung Transplants45425944245272
Pancreas Transplants24910861115
Small Intestine Transplant1101012
Total Local Organs Transplanted463337428424407489596
TISSUE Donation 2013201420152016201720182019
Local Tissue Donors1,1771,5901,6741,7101,7521,6842,118
Bone Donors6608309118228329021,109
Skin Donors1,0761,3861,4011,3201,5031,5121,950
Heart Valve Donors11111411716814095127
Joint Restoration Donors106112119899790121