Great River Health Systems Ceremony to Recognize, Encourage Organ Donation

Great River Health System will kick off National Donate Life Month with a ceremony at11 a.m. Friday, April 1, in the Jeff Weigart Donor Memorial Garden on the health system’s campus, 1221 S. Gear Ave., West Burlington. In case of rain, the ceremony will be in Mercy Plaza. Refreshments will be provided.

The speakers will be Great River Klein Center nurses Margo White and Samantha Ripple, and Bruce and Tiffini Brockway. White donated a kidney to Ripple Jan. 21, and both women have returned to work. The Brockways donated their 10-year-old son Garrett’s organs when he died after an accident three years ago.

One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation, and save and heal more than 50 lives through tissue donation. Tissue includes blood vessels, corneas, bones, heart valves, skin and tendons. In 2015, 61 Iowans shared the gift of life through organ donation, saving 214 lives. Thousands more were healed by 890 tissue donors in Iowa.

Approximately 64 percent of adults are registered donors in Iowa. But the number of people needing transplants outpaces the number of donor organs. There are 122,000 Americans waiting for life-saving organ transplants.

On March 1, 607 Iowans were on the national waiting list for these organs:

  • Heart – 34
  • Lungs – 7
  • Liver – 19
  • Kidney – 533
  • Kidney and pancreas – 12
  • Pancreas – 2

Although an average of 81 transplants occur every day in the U.S., some people don’t receive organs in time. About 22 people die each day while waiting for transplants.

People may register to become organ donors when they receive their drivers’ licenses or they can register online: