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The Importance of Organ & Tissue Donation

Organ transplantation gives thousands of children and adults each year a renewed chance at living full and active lives. However, the need for organs and tissue outweighs their availability.

Committing to be an organ donor is a generous decision that can save the lives of up to eight individuals, and even more if a donor can give corneas and tissue. Almost anyone, regardless of age, race or gender, can become an organ and tissue donor, and there are no costs to the person’s family or estate.

Below are some basic facts about the need for organ donations and transplantations:

  • Waiting list candidates as of April 2019: 113,691
  • U.S. Transplants, January - December 2018: 36,500
  • U.S. Organ Donors, January - December 2018: 10,700

(Source: United Network for Organ Sharing)

In 1964, Lurie Children’s, known at the time as Children’s Memorial Hospital, performed its first transplant ever – a kidney transplant. Since then, the program has expanded to include heart, liver and intestinal transplants, and the number of transplants performed totals more than 1200. In 2018, we performed 55 organ transplants, 9 of these transplants were from living donors, and 46 were from deceased donors.

We wouldn’t be able to perform these transplants without commitments from donors. Lurie Children’s honors all of our families, and families throughout the United States who have made the selfless decision to donate their loved one’s organs. You are a hero.

Sign Up to be an Organ Donor



National Donate Life Month Kick-Off

Lurie Children's Heart Center patient and heart transplant recipient Sofia Sanchez recently teamed up with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to discuss the importance of organ donation.

On April 1, 2019, Sofia and Jesse White helped kick off National Donate Life Month at Lurie Children's along with heart surgeon Carl Backer, MD, and the Lo Priore family, whose son Maddox was an organ donor. 


(From left) Dr. Backer and Sofia Sanchez.


Ralph Lo Priore, father of organ donor Maddox, speaks about the importance of organ donation.


Sofia sharing her experience as a donor recipient. 


(From left) Sofia's mom, Natalie; Sofia; and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Donate Life PSA

For more information on the importance of organ donation, watch the video below.