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Wyoming and Colorado organ donations increase by more than ten percent

A woman poses next to a balloon-adorned parade float that reads "Woven Together: The Dance of Life"
Courtesy of Donor Alliance
Douglas resident Rhonda Hill poses with Donor Alliance's parade float just days before the 2024 Rose Parade. Hill's life was saved by a deceased donor's gift of a kidney and matching pancreas.

The number of lives in the Mountain West saved by organ donation continues to rise.

According to the nonprofit Donor Alliance, there were 918 organ transplants in Wyoming and Colorado in 2023. That's a 10.6 percent increase over the year before. Those transplants came from 307 donors, radically changing the lives of 825 recipients.

It was all made possible by anonymous everyday people agreeing to give the gift of life in the event they lose their own.

Rhonda Hill of Douglas was on the receiving end of that gift decades ago, when her life was saved by a stranger's kidney and pancreas.

"I had forgotten what it felt like to be normal; I was so sick for so long," she said. "I felt like I was 16 again."

Since that life-saving surgery, Hill has been an advocate for donation registration, working with Donor Alliance to educate the public and to get more people signed up to be donors.

The nonprofit notes that tissue donations also rose this year, by 3.9 percent, with 1,700 tissue donors making more than 100,000 tissue grafts possible.

"Nearly 1,300 people across Colorado and Wyoming continue to wait for a lifesaving organ transplant," states a news release from Donor Alliance. "One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and save and heal up to 75 lives through tissue donation."

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.

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