SACRAMENTO — Sierra Donor Services, formerly known as Golden State Donor Services/Sierra Eye and Tissue Donor Services, led the nation in the number of organs recovered per donor at 3.78 for the first nine months of 2011. The national mean was 3.13 organs per donor according to the latest statistics released by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
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The nonprofit organ/tissue recovery agency serving nearly four million people in inland Northern California and Northern Nevada, set yet another milestone in 2011. For the first time in its 26-year history, the organization saved 243 lives through organ transplants. This represents a 65 percent increase in organs transplanted over the previous year at 158.
Sierra Donor Services, a division of DCI Donor Services, also had a record number of tissue donors in 2011, with 698, a 17 percent increase over 2010 (592). Eye donations also increased to a record 352, a 40 percent rise.
Collaboration with hospital and transplant centers
The dramatic success can be credited to a number of factors, according to the Executive Director of Sierra Donor Services, Monica Johnson-Tomanka.
“Sierra Donor Services continues to work towards our vision of increased public acceptance of organ and tissue donation and by developing ever stronger partnerships with hospitals and the medical community,” Johnson-Tomanka said.
An effective tool for increasing donations
Sierra Donor Services has also taken a lead role in educating the public at large, and is currently signing up more donors on the Donate Life California Registry than any other area in the state, with a donor designation rate of 30 percent vs. 26.2 percent statewide. Since its inception in April 2005 nearly nine million Californians have signed up to give life.
As Tracy Bryan, board member of Donate Life California and director of public relations for SDS said, “We are now part of a nationwide push to sign up 20 million in 2012 — that’s three million for California. That drive provides real hope to the nearly 21,000 people in our state — 1,447 in our area — waiting for a life-saving transplant. Tragically, one third of them will die waiting for a transplant, due to a lack of donors. We urge everyone to be a hero for life and sign up today.”
What can you do?
To get the facts or sign up to become an organ and tissue donor, visit sierradonor.org or in California donateLIFEcalifornia.org. In Spanish, visit doneVIDAcalifornia.org.
You can also sign up to give life through the DMV when you apply for or renew your driver’s license.
The Sierra Donor Services donor service area includes 11 counties in Northern California that include Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties, as well as Santa Rosa and Northern Nevada.