For the fourth year in a row, the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) achieved a record-breaking year for Saving and Healing morelives through organ, tissue and cornea donation across western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, New York. The generosity of hundreds of donors and their families served as the foundation for CORE’s 23% increase in organ transplants, with 858 life-saving transplants made possible by 334 organ donors. Heart transplants had the most significant impact on the region’s monumental year, rising 50% percent from 2021.
The nonprofit reported record numbers across transplant categories, most notably for heart (89 total), kidney (454 total) and cornea (1,073 total) transplants. None of these transplants would have been possible without the selflessness of the region’s donors and CORE’s esteemed hospital partners. It’s thanks to them that recipients like Michael Kristufek, a young husband and father who received a heart transplant in 2022, are able to live full lives. As a former WVU college athlete and current high school swim coach in the Pittsburgh area, Michael is proof that anyone can find themselves in need of a life-saving gift.
“I speak for all of us at CORE when I say I am overwhelmed with gratitude for our donors and their families who said ‘yes’ to organ donation, offering a second chance at life for hundreds of recipients last year,” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE. “It takes a strong community, including the full CORE team and our phenomenal transplant centers, to shatter donation records year after year. As we set goals for an impactful 2023, we strive to continue our journey of excellence and pursue ‘every donor, every time’ so we can help the more than 100,000 people across the nation waiting for a life-saving transplant. We remain committed to bridging the gap between donor families, healthcare providers and transplant recipients to transform even more lives in 2023.”
CORE also reported its second-highest number of tissue donors ever in 2022, with 1,297 donors in total. Across its organ, tissue and cornea donation efforts, the nonprofit Saved and Healed more than 1,200 lives last year. Yet, the need for donors remains urgent. A new person is added to the national transplant list every 10 minutes, and nearly 2,600 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant in CORE’s service region. Despite this, only half of Pennsylvanian’s and a third of West Virginians are registered as organ donors.
“Anyone can sign up to be a donor, regardless of age or medical history, and it’s free to do,” said Stuart. “The only way we can continue to break records and save lives is if members of our community make the heroic decision to register.”
One person can save the lives of eight by donating organs and heal the lives of 75 through tissue donation. When a person decides to become an organ and tissue donor, they open up a world of possibilities for others. Register as an organ, tissue and cornea donor today at core.org/register.
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 57 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States, serving more than five million people in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. CORE coordinates the recovery and matching of organs, tissues and corneas for transplant within our service region, and works tirelessly to create a culture of donation within the hospitals and communities we serve. CORE’s mission is to Save and Heal lives through donation, ultimately ending the deaths of those on the transplant waiting list, while maintaining integrity for the donation process, dignity for the donors, and compassion for their families. CORE is a winner of the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a presidential award that recognizes nonprofits for their innovation and excellence. For more information, visit www.core.org or call 1-800-DONORS-7.