Among the driver’s license offices in northeast Colorado, Phillips County stands out above the rest in organ donor designations, with 73.3 percent of driver’s license and ID document customers registered as organ donors in 2017. — Johnson Publications graphic
Phillips County rises above the rest
April is National Donate Life Month, a time to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. Locally, it seems that past encouragement must have worked, because the Holyoke Driver License Office, located in the Phillips County Clerk and Recorder Office, has been recognized for the highest donor designation rate for offices of its size (those processing fewer than 1,500 documents last year).
In 2017, a total of 955 people received driver’s licenses or ID documents in Phillips County. Of those, 700 joined the state organ and tissue donor registry. That’s 73.3 percent. Statewide, the donor designation rate is 67.98 percent. Not only was Phillips County first within its size division, it was also ninth of the 53 offices statewide. Within northeast Colorado, Phillips County is the clear leader.
This hasn’t always been the case. In 2015, the Phillips County DDR was just above 65 percent. Something within the past two years has inspired more locals to say “yes” to organ donation.
From the perspective of someone on the receiving end of organ donation, Kevin Scott is glad to know that so many people are making the decision to be organ donors. Even before he received a liver transplant last year, Scott chose to designate himself as an organ donor on his driver’s license, viewing it as something helpful he could do for others.
For many, organ donation isn’t something they think about often. In Scott’s case, it was knowing that his grandmother’s eyes went to someone who needed them after she died that first brought his attention to the issue. Does organ donation make a difference? “I’m sure glad they found one for me,” Scott said.
In 2017 alone, there were 1,752 tissue donors in Colorado. Of those, 21 donors were from northeastern Colorado.
Colorado and Wyoming fast facts about organ and tissue donation
—2,401 people are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.
—68 percent of Coloradans and 59 percent of Wyomingites are registered organ, eye and tissue donors.
—Of those waiting, 1,799 are waiting for a kidney (75 percent), and 513 are waiting for a liver (21 percent).
—16 percent of current transplant candidates in Colorado have been on the waiting list for five years or more.
—22 percent of those waiting for an organ transplant are under 50 years of age; another 44 percent are between 50 and 64.
—407 people received lifesaving organ transplants in 2017, thanks to 144 selfless donors in Colorado and Wyoming.
—In 2017, Donor Alliance recovered tissue for transplant from 1,752 donors; of those, 66 percent were on either the Donate Life Colorado or Wyoming donor registries.
National fast facts about organ and tissue donation
Today, nearly 120,000 people are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants nationally; on average, every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list.
—Of the patients waiting, 95,626 (83 percent) are in need of a kidney and 13,902 (12 percent) are in need of a liver transplant.
—Recoverable organs include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small bowel.
—Recoverable tissues include bone, tendons and corneas, as well veins, valves and skin.
—One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and can save and heal more than 75 lives through tissue donation.
—Every day, 22 people die while waiting for a lifesaving transplant.
—Every year, the lives of about 500,000 Americans are saved and healed by organ and tissue donation.
—An average of 88 transplants take place every day in the United States.
—Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the national transplant waiting list.
—Approximately 1,500,000 tissue transplants are performed annually.
—Approximately 6,000 living donations occur each year. One in four donors is not biologically related to the recipient.
To learn more about organ and tissue donation, visit www.DonorAlliance.org. Residents can join the Donate Life Colorado or Wyoming registries by visiting www.DonateLifeColorado.org or www.DonateLifeWyoming.org.