SOURCE: LifeSource

LifeSource

February 26, 2009 10:44 ET

LifeSource Honors 20 Years of Saving Lives

2009 Marks 20th Anniversary of the Organization, 10th Anniversary of Tissue Services

ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwire - February 26, 2009) - On March 1, 1989, LifeSource opened its doors with the mission of saving lives through organ donation in the Upper Midwest. Built upon the dedication of local transplant centers and hospitals to increase the number of lives saved through donation, LifeSource began its journey with one employee, Susan Gunderson, who remains the organization's Chief Executive Officer. Under her leadership, LifeSource expanded to include a comprehensive tissue recovery program to provide more opportunities for individuals in the Upper Midwest to save lives. 2009 also marks the 10th anniversary of LifeSource's tissue recovery program.

LifeSource is the non-profit organization that manages all organ donation and most tissue donation in the Upper Midwest, working with hospital staff, medical examiners, coroners and funeral directors to support families and provide life-saving transplants for people in need. Over the course of the past twenty years, LifeSource has supported the families of more than 2,800 organ donors, providing more than 10,000 organs for transplant. Since the inception of its tissue recovery program in 1999, LifeSource has worked with the families of more than 2,500 generous donors to provide more than 100,000 tissue grafts for transplant.

"The people in our communities are some of the most generous and gracious in the country," says Susan Gunderson, founder and Chief Executive Officer. "Last year, 75% of donors and their families in the Upper Midwest said yes to organ donation when the opportunity was present at the end of life. That's about ten percent higher than the national average. Never before has support for the life-saving gifts of donation been so fully embraced by the families and communities we serve and the hospitals with which we partner."

Public support for donation has also increased the number of people who register as a donor on their driver's license, state identification card or online registry. "Fifty-two percent of drivers in the states we serve have made a lifetime commitment to donation, including more than 2.1 million in Minnesota alone," said Gunderson. "We are seeing real progress and have been incredibly honored to serve the community for the past twenty years. However, the need for donated organs and tissues is ongoing. We will continue to expand our capabilities to ensure that donor families and transplant recipients, their families and our community as a whole benefit from the gifts of organ and tissue donation."

Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, LifeSource employs more than 130 people in six offices in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. LifeSource serves more than 6.5 million people in the Upper Midwest by partnering with more than 200 hospitals and 8 transplant centers. There are currently more than 100,000 people in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, including more than 2,700 in the Upper Midwest. To find out how to register as an organ and tissue donor, or for more information about donation, visit www.OrganDonation.org or call LifeSource at (888) 5 - DONATE.

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