The Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) announced a fourth consecutive year of record-breaking donations in 2022.
CORE saw a 23 percent increase in organ transplants last year with 858 life-saving transplants made possible by 334 organ donors. Another record was set with a 50 percent increase of heart transplants in the region.
Cheryl King is CORE’s Community Outreach Coordinator. She said organ donation is used to save lives, as well as to heal lives.
“A lot of people when they think about CORE and about organ donation, they don’t realize that there is also tissue and cornea donation. So someone may not need a heart, but they may need corneas they may need to be able to see,” King said. “When they think of organ donation, they don’t think about tissue. But tissue can be skin, it can be bone, it can be heart valves, and all of these things can heal people’s lives. I mean, it can save them, but it can also heal them.”
Even after a year filled with successful transplants, the need for donors remains urgent with a new person added to the transplant list every 10 minutes and nearly 500 people waiting for a life-saving transplant in the state. However, CORE reports only a third of West Virginians are registered as organ donors.
Some hesitate to become an organ donor for personal or religious reasons, while others might be operating under misconceptions about the process.
“The biggest misconception is people think that if they are in a car wreck, or have a heart attack, and go to the hospital, that the people at the hospital, the medical staff will not help them, because if they see that they are an organ donor, then they are not going to want to save their lives because they’re going to want their organs to be recovered, and that is not the truth at all,” King said.
Emergency personnel are trained to help the patient that is in front of them and to do everything in their power to save that life.
“If you go into the hospital, in an emergency situation, in any situation, they’re going to try to save your life,” King said. “They’re not thinking about saving someone else’s life first.”
One person can save the lives of eight by donating organs and heal the lives of 75 through tissue donation. To register today, visit CORE.org/register.