Gift of Life Michigan smashes record for organ donors in 2023

2023 was a record year for Gift of Life Michigan with 578 organ donors and 1,858 tissue donors

More than 213,000 people join Donor Registry

Gift of Life Michigan helped a record 578 people become organ donors and 1,858 to give the gift of tissue last year, saving thousands of lives and healing tens of thousands more.

The 2023 figures represent a significant 25% increase in organ donors over the previous record set for Michigan in 2022. Gift of Life was one of 40 donation programs across the country to break records for organ donors.

“We have the generosity of donors and their families to thank for reaching this milestone,” said Dorrie Dils, president and CEO of this state’s organ procurement organization. “Those donors left a legacy of helping thousands of sick and injured patients, who I know are incredibly grateful.

“We could not – absolutely could not – accomplish this critical work without our hospital partners and Michigan’s eight transplant centers to help us continue to whittle away at the waiting list. I’m also inspired every day by the dedication of our compassionate staff.”

The number of organs transplanted also increased from 1,052 in 2022 to 1,372. Across the nation, more than 43,000 organs were transplanted.

A key goal in Michigan is adding names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. More than 213,000 residents did that last year. The Donor Registry has grown slowly in recent years due to several factors, Dils said, adding that a new way to register here could help. This year, Michigan taxpayers can check a box on their 2023 income tax form to join the 57% of adults in this state who have already done so.

Gift of Life undertook several initiatives in 2022 and 2023 to further improve the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system. Among them are investing in new technology, hiring more staff, advocating for required education about donation in public high schools, creating more equity in health care, and working with transplant centers to place more life-saving organs.

“We’re feeling the effects of smart, ambitious initiatives carried out by hard-working people dedicated to helping donors, their families and our mission,” Dils said. “The urgency of patients on the waiting list is also our urgency and always will be.”

The waiting list persists with about 2,400 patients needing transplants in Michigan as of Jan. 1. More than 100,000 are waiting nationwide. Seventeen people die every day waiting for a life-saving transplant in the U.S., and someone is added to the national list, on average, about every 10 minutes.

For more information or to sign up as a donor, visit golm.org/register.

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