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Yuliya Ryvkina | Public Relations Specialist

Gift of Hope surpasses milestone for life-saving organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana

ITASCA, Ill. (January 16, 2024)—Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network announced today that Illinois and northwest Indiana surpassed milestones for life-giving organ and tissue donation again in 2023, contributing to the nation’s record levels for organ transplants.

For the second consecutive year, more than 500 individuals and their families in the region said yes to organ donation—a national milestone. These gifts from 509 donors made possible 1,424 organs for life-saving transplants, an increase from 1,418 last year.

In addition, 2,085 tissue donors – an increase from 1,869 in 2022 – donated bone, skin and other tissue to save or heal patients with severe burns in need of skin grafts and restore mobility and health for patients suffering from torn ligaments and tendons, circulatory conditions or diseases requiring bone grafts.

As the non-profit organ procurement organization responsible for organ and tissue donation in the northern two-thirds of Illinois and Lake County, Ind., Gift of Hope is responsible for coordinating donation with donors, their families, hospitals, coroners, funeral directors and others involved in the process when an individual dies and is medically eligible. This includes carrying out the individual’s registered decision to be a donor, or speaking with the family about the opportunity if the decision was left to them.

Across the country, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reported more than 46,000 organ transplants took place in 2023, a nearly 9% increase over 2022 and a new national record.

“I am grateful to the organ and tissue donors and the families we worked with in 2023,” said Gift of Hope President/CEO Harry Wilkins, MD. “It is through the compassion and generosity of those who say ‘yes’ to donation that so many individuals continue to receive a second chance at life. We do this only with the ongoing support of hospitals and all others who contribute to fulfilling our mission to save and enhance lives through organ and tissue donation.”

Among its ongoing strategic initiatives to continue increasing life-saving donation and transplantation, Gift of Hope has partnered with RUSH to open Illinois’ first hospital-based organ donor care center this summer. Operated 24/7, the world-class intensive care and surgical unit for deceased organ donors will be staffed with leading clinicians and allied multidisciplinary services to optimize the impact of every organ donation and save more lives.

A single person can save up to eight lives as an organ donor, enhance the lives of more than 25 people as a tissue donor, and help restore sight for up to two people.

To learn more about donation and register as a donor today to offer hope to people in need of transplants, visit and join the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry or Donate Life Indiana registry. A link is provided for residents of other states to locate the donor registry where they live.

About Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is the not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. As one of 56 OPOs that make up the nation’s organ donation system, Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million people in its donation service area. Since 1986, its work has saved the lives of more than 26,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. For more information, visit