More than 10,000 donated organs in 2017, marking a record

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Victoria Arias wanted to save lives.

The 18-year-old Arizona honor student was preparing to head to St. Mary’s University of Minnesota with the hope of becoming a doctor.

She played the violin and volleyball, and was a devout Catholic who had saved up for a pilgrimage to Rome to see the pope. Victoria had plans for the future.

“She wanted to be a trauma surgeon,” her mother, Lorena Arias, said. “She had big dreams. She was going to do it.”

Victoria did end up saving lives, but not in the way anyone expected. Last July, Lorena found Victoria unconscious in the backyard pool. She never recovered.

But Victoria’s kidneys, liver, lungs and heart went to four people who’d been waiting for lifesaving organ transplants.

She was among the 10,000 people whose organs were donated in 2017 — the first year more than 10,000 people have donated organs to others after they died, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

“We are grateful that more lives are being saved, year after year, thanks to the boundless generosity of organ donors,” said Dr. Yolanda Becker, president of the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/UNOS Board of Directors.

Nearly 35,000 organ transplants were done in 2017, a 3.4 percent increase over 2016. About 18 percent of these were from living donors — people who gave one kidney or a part of their liver to someone else. But 115,000 Americans remain on waiting lists for organ transplants, UNOS says.

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About the Author:

Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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