Healthy Living: Organ and tissue donation in Alaska

Channel 2 Morning Edition (6 a.m.)
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 9:05 AM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2021 at 9:06 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - They’re two organizations dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation. We spoke with Kevin O’Connor, the President and CEO of LifeCenter Northwest. He said despite the pandemic, Alaska has been helpful to those involved in organ and tissue donation and they’ve had minimal disruptions with their process.

In 2020, O’Connor said they had 26 organ donors. He added that’s more than 75 organs transplanted, making Alaska one of the highest performing states in organ donations in the United States.

He also touched on the benefit that comes to the families of patients who pass away and donate their tissues or organs.

“They get long-lasting solace and comfort and knowledge that their loved one didn’t die in vain. They actually made the world a better place for others through the gift of life,” said O’Connor.

Then there’s Life Alaska Donor Services. They’re a different entity, but work hand in hand with a lot of LifeCenter Northwest donors. The pandemic has made things a bit hard as far as being able to physically connect with families, but still, Alaskans can do their part to help give the gift of life.

“The most important thing kind of moving forward you know for the community to do to help us support our mission of facilitating donation is to I mean at minimum, mention to your family what your wishes are,” said Rachel Bernhardt, donation coordinator with Life Alaska Donor Services. “It can be one sentence and the conversation can really be that simple.”

If you’re interested in becoming an organ donor, click here for more information.

Next week, we’ll introduce you to the Seay family and hear their incredible story of how organ donation saved their son’s life.

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