In 2020, United Tissue Resources—an organization that has provided allograft tissue recovery and distribution for Central Texas since 1985—helped 43 donors from Wilco provide 1,842 tissue grafts to county hospitals and surgery centers.
Miracles in Sight, an eye bank, reported 48 corneal donors from Wilco last year. As one of Texas’ largest tissue donor counties, Williamson County is also one of Donate Life America’s best partners.
Figures for countywide specific numbers of organ donations were not available, but also last year 189 organ donors did provide 594 organs for transplant in the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance service area covering 56 Central and South Texas counties .
But more donors are needed and that means you.
Organ donation includes solid organs such as heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small intestine.
Organ donor patients must be medically declared brain dead and maintained on mechanical support before organs are removed. Recipients on the transplant list receive organs based on the severity of need and matching criteria.
Currently, more than 110,000 Americans—10,000 of them Texans— are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Every 10 minutes, a new name is added to the list, and tragically, 22 people die daily from a lack of available organs.
The generosity of an individual organ donor can save up to eight or nine lives.
Although most people are familiar with organ donation, tissue donation is not as commonly discussed yet is actually more commonly gifted.
Tissue transplants, or allografts, are given to patients to reduce pain, prevent amputations, protect against infection and either improve or save the life of recipients.
Life-enhancing or life-saving bone, skin, heart valve, vein, nerve and connective tissue are surgically removed after a donor’s heart stops beating. Each year, more than 1.75 million allograft transplants are performed in this country.
In contrast to organ donation, tissue grafts do not have to be matched to a recipient’s blood type. Rejection of tissue grafts is uncommon. While there is no waiting list for tissue recipients, tissue donors are still needed.
If you’ve heard of eye transplants, you actually heard about corneal transplants.
An eye is a complex organ connected to the brain by the optic nerve that sends visual signals from the eye to the brain, where they are interpreted as images. Yet the optic nerve is made up of more than one million tiny nerve fibers, much like a fiber optic cable. Once these nerve fibers are cut, they cannot be reconnected making it impossible to transplant a whole eye.
Corneal transplantation, however, has been available for nearly a century. A healthy, clear cornea is needed for good vision, and if it becomes injured or damaged by disease, it can become swollen or scarred, causing glare or blurred vision. In a corneal transplant, a surgeon removes the damaged cornea replacing it with a clear donor cornea.
Besides corneal donations, scientists also rely on donated tissue from the retina, lens and other eye parts to find the causes and cures for eye disorders and diseases.
As the Donate Life website says: It (registration) takes only moments yet means a second chance of a lifetime.
Don’t delay. Sign up now for the opportunity to one day improve someone’s health and quality of life, OR to give life itself.