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AOPO’s Donor Remembrance Day Honors Organ Donor Heroes
Families Share Stories of Loss and Hope in Donor Hero Garden
McLean, VA. (April 26, 2022) – The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is hosting its annual Donor Remembrance Day on April 30, which closes out Donate Life Month and encourages people to share tributes in honor of their donor heroes on a special website. AOPO and the organ donation community value Donor Remembrance Day as an opportunity to educate the public about organ donation with the goal of increasing the number of donor registrations and ultimately saving more lives.
This observance celebrates donor heroes whose organ donations have resulted in new life for those in need of a transplant. Donor families and transplant recipients can go to AOPO’s website and “plant” a forget-me-not flower dedication in the virtual Remembrance Garden, sharing their personal stories about the impact of organ donation.
“Each year, we continue to see an increase in those giving the precious gift of organ, eye, and tissue donation,” says Jan Finn, RN, MSN; AOPO President; and President and CEO, Midwest Transplant Network. “Key to continuing this increase is collaboration throughout the organ procurement organization (OPO) community and keeping our eye on our 50,000 Annual Organ Transplants in 2026 campaign goal.”
AOPO and its members are working with key stakeholders toward a collective vision to pursue the day when every donation opportunity results in lives saved by implementing a series of initiatives to:
- Expand collaboration across the AOPO membership and among all stakeholders
- Reduce health inequities to improve accessibility of organ transplants in minority communities
- Maximize organ utilization by transplant programs
- Drive innovation to increase donation and maximize transplantation
“Reaching this goal requires focused performance improvement in all aspects of organ donation and transplantation, from the early interaction of caregivers with donors and donor families to the transplant and care for patients receiving the gift of donation,” explains Steve Miller, AOPO CEO. “Already, a coordinated approach using innovative technologies and known successful practices has enabled us to begin increasing donors and optimizing all donation opportunities. According to the latest Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) data, transplants from all donor types are already over 10,000 in 2022, up slightly from last year.”
With sustained, incremental growth in donation, the measure of OPO performance relies on an integrated system to continue saving more lives. OPOs are one piece of a larger system and true success comes from hospitals, OPOs, and transplant programs working together toward this common goal.
In line with AOPO’s 50,000 campaign, recently, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on A Fairer and More Equitable, Cost-Effective, and Transparent System of Donor Organ Procurement, Allocation, and Distribution released a report on its assessment of the organ donation and transplantation system. The report offered recommendations for donor hospitals, OPOs, transplant centers, and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) to improve system-wide performance, equity, and organ utilization and included experts from all these areas.
AOPO was pleased to see that the report tied into its 50,000 Annual Organ Transplants in 2026 campaign with some of the same goals and recommendations. Specifically, the NASEM report calls for the need to:
- Improve equity within the organ donation and transplantation system
- Increase the number of donated organs used for transplant
- Improve the system and system performance
“The NASEM report is yet another way that the organ procurement community is collaborating to save more lives,” says Finn. “By expert stakeholders working together to identify and fix issues within the system, we will ensure our organ donation and transplantation system remains the best in the world.”
The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is the not-for-profit trade association leading the nation’s organ donation community to save and improve lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation. Founded in 1984, AOPO advances organ donation and transplantation by driving continual improvement of the donation process, collaborating with stakeholders, and sharing successful practices with their OPO members. The vision of AOPO is to pursue the day when every donation opportunity results in lives saved. For more information, please visit www.aopo.org.