April 14, 2023

Families of organ donors honored with annual recognition event

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – One organ donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of 75 or more. In FY22, 94 living donors and 416 deceased donors made organ donations in Missouri, saving or enhancing hundreds of lives. Donors and their families were recognized Tuesday by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Governor’s Organ Donation Advisory Committee.

Currently, more than 1,400 Missourians are on a waitlist for one or more organ donations. Thousands of people suffer or die needlessly each year due to a lack of organ and tissue donors. 

Missourians are encouraged to have a conversation with their loved ones about the choice to become a donor. In the event that a family member passes suddenly, family members can find themselves facing difficult decisions. This particular situation is made easier if the deceased is a registered donor and the family is aware of this decision. The vast majority of transplants were able to occur because of donors being registered. To become a donor, individuals can register online, or enroll by mail or at a local DMV

“Registering to be an organ donor is simple to do, but it is something that can make such a tremendous impact when one’s only hope is a transplant,” said Paula F. Nickelson, acting director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “Although the majority of people support the idea of organ donation, not all have taken that simple step to ensure their wishes are honored after they are gone. My father was the recipient of corneal transplants thus resulting in him living a fuller life until the end of his life, and that’s something for which my family is forever grateful.”

Recognition events in honor of more than 100 of Missouri’s recent donors occurred this week in the Capitol, the Harry S. Truman State Office Building and concluded with an evening luminary event and moment of silence in the Governor’s Garden. A dedication ceremony also took place at Adrian’s Island where a paver stone was placed by the Governor’s Organ Donation Advisory Committee in honor of Missourians that gave the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation.

Vital organs and tissues can be donated for transplantation. The heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and small intestine are all life-saving transplants. Tissue donations can include cornea, skin, bone, heart valves, blood vessels and tendons. Bone marrow can also be donated by living donors.  

Learn more about organ donation in Missouri at DonateLifeMissouri.org. 


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About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS): The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.