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Families of organ donors honored with annual recognition event

(AP) – Organ donations were highlighted in Joplin only a few weeks ago when the organs of fatally-wounded Joplin police officer Jake Reed were harvested prior to his death.

Donors and their families are being recognized today at the Missouri State Capitol.

One organ donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of 75 or more. In FY21, 87 living donors and 675 deceased donors made organ donations in Missouri, saving or enhancing the lives of 762 individuals.

Currently, more than 1,700 Missourians are on a wait list 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 200 of Missouri’s recent donors will occur today in the Capitol and the Harry S. Truman State Office Building and will conclude with an evening candlelight vigil and moment of silence in the Governor’s Garden.

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 

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