April was National Donate Life Month. To mark the 2009 event, Intermountain Donor Services hosted a conference to educate the public about the importance and impact donation has on organ recipients.
A non-profit organization, IDS facilitates living and non-living organ, tissue and eye donations in Utah, southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming.
IDS public education coordinator Dixie Madsen handed out an informational packet designed to inform the community of the facts of organ and tissue donations.
Individuals from newborns to roughly 80 years of age can be potential organ and tissue donors.
Eligibility is determined on a case by case basis and may be affected by medical or social history, cause of the donor's death and other mitigating factors, according to the organization.
There are currently eight major organ and tissue transplant procedures that can be done, including small bowels, pancreas, lungs, liver, kidney, heart, cornea and bone.
All of the procedures can be preformed at four transplant centers in the state.
The facilities include University of Utah Medical Center, LDS Hospital, Primary Children's and the United States Veterans Administration Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
According to IDS data, nearly 380 adults and children are on the donor waiting list in Utah.
There are more than 100,000 names on the list nationwide and another individual is added every 11 minutes in the United States.
Approximately 78 organ transplants take place daily. But an average of 18 waiting patients die everyday because organs did not become available in time.
Living people can donate a kidney and portions of their liver, lung, pancreas or intestine.
Almost two-thirds of all living donors are related to organ recipients, most commonly siblings.
But the number of unrelated living donors has more than tripled since 1998.
Organ donation is an important decision that should be made with the knowledge of families, noted IDS.
In addition to signing up when renewing drivers licenses, local residents may make exact donation wishes known by registering at www.idslife.org.