2023, HonorBridge Record-Shattering Year For Saving Lives

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January 25, 2024 (Chapel Hill, NC)  Across the nation and North Carolina, 2023 proved to be another record year for saving lives through organ donation and transplantation. Today, HonorBridge, North Carolina’s largest organ donation and tissue recovery organization, announced that it saved 912 lives, a 22% increase in 2023 compared to its best year ever. Nationally, 43,000 organs were successfully transplanted, a 9.4% increase from 2022.

HonorBridge’s continued growth reflects its commitment to process improvements, investment of highly skilled and trained staff, and dedication to its organ and tissue donor families impacted by loss and grief. Other important records set by the non-profit organization included 388 organ donors (23% increase) providing 1,003 organs (19% increase) for transplantation to the nearly 105,000 men, women, and children, including more than 3,000 North Carolinians, waiting nationwide for the gift of life.

“Thanks to selfless decisions made by organ donors or their families, our hospital partners, and our dedicated staff, last year we averaged more than one organ donor per day,” said Danielle Bumarch, RN, JD, President & CEO. “This was our best year yet, and we anticipate having another record year in 2024.”

Also, HonorBridge recovered tissues such as heart valves, bone, and skin from 1,067 tissue donors. Tissue donation saves patients with severe burns; heals athletes with torn ligaments or tendons; replaces damaged heart valves; and corrects congenital heart defects.

HonorBridge continues investing in the communities it serves to build trust, break down barriers and educate the public on the vital need for registering their decisions to become donors. “Organ donation is rare,” said Bumarch. “While most of the population can be tissue donors after death, less than 1% of deaths result in organ donation. This is why our team works so incredibly hard to save lives and encourages everyone to say ‘yes’ to donation. One organ, eye, and tissue donor can save and heal more than 75 lives.”

Other milestones HonorBridge reached in 2023 include moving into its new Chapel Hill building with on-site organ and tissue surgical recovery rooms, donor family care room, simulation lab, Donor Care Unit, and an Honor Garden to support donor families and honor their loved ones. In collaboration with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, HonorBridge utilized a $405,000 grant by the Kidney Transplant Collaborative to develop a system for procurement and tracking of kidney donation outcomes, with the potential to increase kidney donation and become a national model for expanding kidney recovery and transplantation.

The organ donation process begins when North Carolinians register their decisions by saying ‘yes’ at the local DMV or visiting HonorBridge.org/RegisterMe.