Lifeshare of Oklahoma, which helps hospitals find organ donors, said last year broke records for the number of lives saved from organ donors in Oklahoma.
Vice President of Communications Katy Smith said despite a pandemic, 2020 was a record-breaking year in terms of facilitating organ, eye, and tissue donations across the state.
Smith said 508 lives were saved through lifesaving transplants, an increase of 5% from 2019. She believes the pandemic inspired more people to become donors.
"Experiencing their darkest times and they are selfless, and they are thinking of others,” Smith said.
Smith said they work with about 145 hospitals across Oklahoma to find qualified organ donors.
Karen Hoyt knows how hard it is to need a transplant because in 2010, she was diagnosed with liver cancer.
"I noticed that my legs and my feet were really swollen and the next day I went to my doctor and she said, ‘your liver has failed,’” said Smith.
In 2014, Hoyt was on a transplant list for almost 300 days. Lifeshare of Oklahoma notified Hoyt's transplant center about a boy who was qualified to give her a new liver.
Hoyt said she had the pleasure of meeting the boy's mother.
"She walked into the emergency room and said, ‘let's make something good happen’ and I have spoken to her since,” Hoyt said.
Hoyt is now a volunteer for Lifeshare of Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Smith believes 2021 will be another record-breaking year.
"We will just keep doing our part to save lives through donations if Oklahoma’s continue to give,” said Smith.
64 percent of Oklahomans are registered to be organ donors, which is higher than the national average. You can find out how to become a donor by clicking here.