This month marks the 7th anniversary of National Donate Life Month, honoring living and deceased eye, organ, and tissue donors and their families. Since our establishment in 1991, the South Dakota Lions Eye Bank has provided sight to over 6,500 people in South Dakota and abroad, through corneal transplantation. In 2009, our organization provided sight to 360 people (84 in SD) and improved health to thousands more through tissue donation.
Donation facts you may not know
* Approximately 78 organ transplants take place every day in the U.S.
* On average, a single tissue donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people.
* More than 28,000 patients began new lives last year thanks to organ transplants.
* 39,000 patients had their sight restored last year through cornea transplants.
* A living donor can donate a kidney or a portion of their liver, lung, pancreas, or intestine.
* Annually, there are more than 25,000 tissue donors and 70,000 cornea donors.
* More than 1 million tissue related transplants are performed each year and the surgical need for tissue has been steadily increasing.
* One in 10 deceased donors are 65 years of age or older.
* On average, 133 people are added to the nation's organ transplant waiting list each day - one every 11 minutes.
* People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. You medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissues can be donated.
Tremendous advances have been made in eye, organ, and tissue transplantation, offering the hope of life and/or significant quality of life improvements for tens of thousands of individuals. Still, each year more donors are needed to meet the transplant needs. To ensure your wishes of being an eye, organ, and tissue donor are carried out, make sure to sign the state's donor registry on your driver's license, and speak with your loved ones to let them know of your decision.