When Vicki Maloney of South Milwaukee lost her 22-year-old daughter, Alyssa, to a car accident, she searched for the strength and courage she needed for Alyssa’s daughter, Abbey.
She found comfort in the fact that the donation of Alyssa’s kidneys and pancreas allowed others to live. Seeing this bigger purpose has given Maloney the strength to move forward and the motivation to be a volunteer and advocate for organ donation.
Maloney’s 12-year-old granddaughter Abbey says, “I’m so proud of my grandma. Focusing on the wonderful gifts my mom was able to give is a great way to honor her memory.”
April is National Donate Life Month – a time to honor donors and donor families who have made the choice to give life-saving gifts – as well as to raise awareness for the ongoing need for blood, organ, tissue and eye donation.
As home to the Wisconsin Donor Network and Wisconsin Tissue Bank, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, based in Wauwatosa at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, is asking community members to make a life-saving difference by:
- Registering to become an organ, tissue and eye donor
- Joining the marrow donation registry
- Donating blood
- Honoring donors and donor families who have saved lives and improved the quality of life for patients
To join the registry or for more information, visit www.bcw.edu/sharinglife.
More than 2,200 people in Wisconsin and more than 117,000 people in the U.S. are awaiting organ transplants. Every year, at least 10,000 patients who need marrow transplants and blood cell transplants search the registry, hoping to find a match. And BloodCenter of Wisconsin needs 800 blood donors each day to maintain the supply to the hospitals we serve.
Becoming a donor allows individuals to give the highly personal and unique gifts of organ, tissue, eye, marrow and blood. For many people, your donation will give them their only chance for recovery or survival.
About BloodCenter of Wisconsin
BloodCenter of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa is a private, not-for-profit organization that specializes in blood services, organ and tissue recovery, marrow donation, diagnostic testing, medical services and leading-edge research. BloodCenter of Wisconsin is the only provider of blood to hospitals in 29 Wisconsin counties. BloodCenter of Wisconsin advances patient care by delivering life-saving solutions grounded in unparalleled medical and scientific expertise. For more information, visit www.bcw.edu. Connect with BloodCenter on Twitter and Facebook.
Organ Donation Facts
- Every 13 minutes, a new person is added to the national organ donor waiting list.
- In 2012, 591 transplants were done in the state of Wisconsin, and 26,000 transplants were done nationally.
- Eighteen people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant.
- In Wisconsin, there are currently more than 2,200 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant.
- BloodCenter of Wisconsin, through its Wisconsin Donor Network and Wisconsin Tissue Bank, provided nearly 200 organs and supported close to 500 families who gave the gift of tissue donation.
- Those 15 ½ years or older can register today by visiting www.bcw.edu/sharinglife. People with an orange donor dot on their license or state ID should still sign up to ensure their wishes will be honored. The registry is efficient, confidential and secure.
- The shortage of organs persists, despite the fact that the public supports organ and tissue donation. That’s because too few members of the public have actually signed a donor card or discussed the issue with their families.
- Currently, more than 117,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. To help you visualize how many people that is:
- Green Bay’s Lambeau Field holds about 72,900 people.
- The total populations for the cities of Wausau (37,576), La Crosse (50,902) and Kaukauna (15,414) still don’t equal the number of people waiting for organ transplants.
- Camp Randall Stadium in Madison seats more than 80,000 people.
- About 75,600 people attend Summerfest in Milwaukee on a single day.
- A sell-out crowd at Miller Park is about 43,700.
- The city of Kenosha’s total population is 96,950.
Tissue/Eye Donation Facts
- Every year, more than one million Americans receive tissue transplants of bone, heart valves, tendons, ligaments, corneas and skin.
- One tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 50 people.
- Each year, life-saving and life-improving tissue is provided by approximately 30,000 tissue donors.
- In 2011, 46,196 sight-restoring transplants were performed in the U.S.
Marrow Donation Facts
- Every year, more than 10,000 children and adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases. For many of them, receiving healthy marrow and blood cell transplants is the only chance for survival.
- These patients depend on the Be The Match Registry for a life-saving marrow match.
- By joining the Be The Match Marrow Registry you could be the life-saving match for someone waiting for a transplant. Visit www.bcw.edu/sharinglife to register.
- Joining Be The Match Registry is simple. Basic requirements for registering to be a potential donor include being between the ages of 18 and 60, in general good health and willing to be available if identified as a match for a patient in need. Once a health history form is completed, a mouth swab test is given. The swabs are tested to determine tissue type and individuals are only contacted if identified as a match. The process, including paperwork, takes approximately 15 minutes.
Blood Donation Facts
- Every day, BloodCenter of Wisconsin needs to see 800 donors to maintain the blood supply to the hospitals we serve.
- BloodCenter of Wisconsin collected 233,087 successful blood donations in 2012.
- Blood is needed by those undergoing treatment for cancer and other diseases, premature babies, accident victims and those undergoing surgery.
- There is an ongoing need for Type O Negative blood. O Negative blood, the universal blood type, can be transfused to patients with any blood type. For this reason, it is commonly used by emergency responders to treat and stabilize patients with severe injuries.
- Donating blood is quick, safe and relatively painless. Generally, you can donate blood if you are at least 16 years old (with a parent’s consent), weigh 110 pounds and are free of cold, flu or allergy symptoms.
- After your blood is collected, it is sent to BloodCenter of Wisconsin's labs for testing. It is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that all blood undergo a series of lab tests before it is given to patients. We perform 14 separate tests on blood. These include tests for sexually transmitted diseases, West Nile virus, hepatitis and other illnesses. If a unit of blood passes all of these tests, it is determined safe for distribution.
- You can donate whole blood every 56 days. You can donate more frequently if you donate platelets or plasma. You can donate red cells every 16 weeks.
For more information on donation, visit www.bcw.edu/sharinglife.