U.S. reaches historic milestone of 1 million organ transplants

Graphic celebrating 1 million organ transplants, with Gift of Life Michigan and United Network for Organ Sharing logos

Gift of Life Michigan joins national ‘Living it Forward’ initiative to advance next million

Ann Arbor, MI – The U.S. organ donation system has made history, surpassing 1 million organ transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Gift of Life Michigan, a key member of the nationwide organ donation and transplant system responsible for reaching the milestone, credits the collaboration, innovation and passion of its fellow members for making it possible.

“Every life saved is a significant milestone,” said Dorrie Dils, President & CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. “We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for the thousands of donors and donor families who so selflessly and generously provided these gifts. They are true heroes and should be remembered for their legacy of kindness and generosity.

“I am also so proud of our team and our hospital and transplant center partners for their hard work in contributing to this amazing achievement,” she added.

Gift of Life joins in advancing Living It Forward, a national initiative led by UNOS in partnership with the transplant community to further accelerate the pace of donation and commemorate the lives saved, legacies honored and hope restored.

The pace has already increased. More than 41,000 transplants – a record – were performed nationwide in 2021, more than double the rate of 25 years ago.

Gift of Life has seen tremendous growth, too. When founded 51 years ago, the organization facilitated 25 organ transplants, all kidneys. Last year, 1,089 organs were transplanted from 429 donors.

“The organ donation and transplant community has made lifesaving history together,” said Jerry McCauley, M.D., M.P.H., president of the UNOS Board of Directors. “Now, we invite donor families, organ transplant candidates and recipients, living organ donors and others touched by transplant to join Living It Forward and honor and celebrate the gifts that made this important milestone possible.”

Of the one million U.S. transplants, more than half have come since 2007, which demonstrates the continuous system-wide improvement. Still, more needs to be done: More than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S., including 2,383 here in Michigan.

The number of patients waiting is also trending down, and Dils said Gift of Life is working to reach more people, add people to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and save more lives. Earlier this year, Gift of Life launched the Check Your Heart campaign, its largest statewide outreach initiative, urging residents to check for the heart insignia on their license or state ID and to sign up if they are not already registered donors. Studies have shown that more than 90% of people support organ and tissue donation, yet in Michigan, only 55% of adults are registered.

“We can do better,” said Dils. “The United States has the best organ and tissue transplantation system in the world, and there is no reason for anyone to die while waiting for a life-saving transplant.”

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


About Gift of Life Michigan
Gift of Life Michigan is a federally designated organ procurement organization that serves the state of Michigan as the intermediary between donors, their families and hospital staff. In collaboration with Eversight, Gift of Life provides all services necessary for organ, eye and tissue donation. For more information, or to sign up on the Donor Registry, visit golm.org or call 866.500.5801.

Read More Posts

Foundation grant honors heart recipient who inspired many

  On Saturday, Aug. 27, a $10,000 grant was presented to the Gift of Life…

Read More
Artelia Griggs and Donnie Parker wave as they finish the 5K walk

LIFE Walk returns to historic Belle Isle for 25th year

Thousands attend event celebrating life, organ and tissue donation The annual LIFE Walk/Run drew nearly…

Read More
Transplant athlete signs Transplant Games of America flag

Team Michigan heads to San Diego for the Donate Life Transplant Games

Camaraderie, fellowship highlight biennual competition for transplant recipients Mike Roman of Berkley admits he probably…

Read More
Donor father John Edmond at the podium on the Capitol Steps with a Check Your Heart banner behind him

Donation supporters rally for “Check Your Heart” at Michigan capitol

Legislators, transplant recipients, donor families urge Michiganders to ‘Check Your Heart’  There was a clear…

Read More
Patrick Price, a bearded Black man with glasses in a blue suit, stands in front of a birthday cake and smiles at the camera

Saginaw man determined to regain health, mobility

Minorities often wait longer for organ transplants  Patrick Price is hoping he will one day…

Read More
Donate Life Day at the Zoo flyer

Donate Life Day at the Zoo celebrates organ donors, transplant recipients and life

Gift of Life’s largest outreach event returns to the popular John Ball Zoo in Grand…

Read More
Scroll to Top