LOUISVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) – Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) had a record-breaking year in 2021.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc across the state, donor numbers experienced a 75% growth from its 2017 numbers. 2021 featured 189 organ donors and 484 tissue donors. These donations lead to 536 organ transplants and more than 500 lives saved.

“Despite the global pandemic, generosity still exists. The proof of that is the willingness of donor families that have said ‘yes’ to donation, during some of their worst moments,” said Julie Bergin, KODA president, and CEO. “There has also been a continued increase in the number of registered donors that will help to save and heal more lives in the future.”

KODA has partnerships with 112 hospitals and area transplant centers, which helped make the 2021 record-breaking numbers happen. They also credited key partnerships with the Ky. Circuit Court Clerks, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Lions Eye Bank (KLEB), and Coroners for their successes.

KLEB reported cornea donors gave 653 individuals the ability to see again in 2021. According to the Trust For Life from the Kentucky circuit court clerks, there were over 94,000 joined the organ donor registry.

Unfortunately, since there are thousands waiting on transplant lists, 20 people die each day.

“There is a type of person, who tries to do the right thing every day no matter what— We call these people heroes. The heroes of our 2021 success are our staff and partners. Without these dedicated and compassionate heroes along with our amazingly generous donor families, donation and transplantation simply would not happen,” said Bergin.

Those interested in becoming a donor can register online at RegisterMe.org to bring hope to those waiting. For more information about organ, tissue, and cornea donation, please visit donatelifeky.org