Living Columns & Blogs

Giving the gift of life: The importance of organ donation

Since 2014, Mount Nittany Health has partnered in the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania Donate Life Hospital Campaign. The campaign, which encourages Pennsylvania hospitals to increase organ donation awareness and designations within their hospital and community, is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Organ Recovery & Education and Gift of Life Donor Program.

Each April, Donate Life brings together national partners, local and regional organ, eye and tissue donation organizations and hospitals throughout the nation to educate employees and their communities on the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.

The need is real

Every 10 minutes, another person in the United States is added to the organ donation waiting list. Each day, about 80 Americans receive life-saving organ transplants and thousands more benefit from cornea and tissue transplants. These extraordinary gifts have been generously donated by ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds, who took just a few minutes in a busy day to indicate their decisions to become organ and tissue donors. But broader awareness of the need for organ, eye and tissue donation is crucial.

There are currently more than 116,000 men, women and children awaiting an organ transplant in the United States. More than 20 people will die each day waiting, because no organ is available. Ninety-five percent of Americans say they support organ donation, while only 54 percent are actually signed up as donors. Each year, the number of people on the waiting list continues to be much larger than both the number of donors and transplants, which grow slowly. In Pennsylvania, alone, there are more than 8,000 people waiting for an organ transplant.

Why donation is important

According to GOL, the average median wait time to receive an organ transplant is:

  • Kidney: 5years
  • Liver: 11 months
  • Heart: 4 months
  • Lung: 4 months
  • Kidney / pancreas: 1.5 years
  • Pancreas: 2 years

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ( reports that:

  • One organ donor can save as many as eight lives and improve 50 to 100 lives through eye and tissue donation.
  • Organ transplants have been successfully saving lives for more than 50 years.
  • Cornea transplants have been successfully restoring sight for more than 100 years.
  • Donated tissues such as skin, bone and heart valves can dramatically improve the quality of life for recipients, and even save lives.
  • Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race or medical history.
  • More than 100 million people in the United States have registered their decision to donate.

What you can do

Give the gift of life. Sign up today to become an organ, eye and tissue donor. To learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation and to register your donation decision, visit

Matt Golemboski, MSN, RN, is the critical care supervisor for Mount Nittany Medical Center.