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Organ Donation

How Donation Works

Organ donation is a gift that provides renewed life to a patient in need. After a life-saving heart, liver, lung, kidney, pancreas or small intestine transplant, many transplant recipients go on to lead normal, active and productive lives – working, spending time with family, contributing to their community and making memories which would be otherwise impossible.

Organ donation, with the primary exception of living kidney donation, occurs after someone has died from an injury that results in brain death. Such an injury might be from a car accident or other traumatic event, or occur when a stroke or heart attack prevents brain tissue from receiving vital oxygen. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it dies, and brain death is determined.

Hospitals are required by law to contact their local organ recovery organization any time someone passes away so that donation may be considered as a possibility. LifeLink of Florida, LifeLink of Georgia and LifeLink of Puerto Rico are within LifeLink Foundation, and represent three of 57 federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs) throughout the United States. We collaborate with hospitals, medical professionals, other agencies (such as medical examiners and law enforcement) and the public to increase support for donation, and to facilitate donation. We are available 24-hours daily to respond to the potential for life-saving donation in our areas.

  • Does Organ Transplantation Really Work?

    Every year, more than 33,000 men, women and children receive the gift of a lifesaving organ transplant. Most of those individuals return to normal, active lives, and they certainly enjoy a second chance to make memories and celebrate milestones with family and friends. Many transplant recipients work, raise families and positively impact their community thanks to the gift of life.

You Have the Power to Donate Life!

What Can Be Donated?

One organ & tissue donor can save 8 lives and improve dozens more through tissue donation.


  • Heart – The heart pumps blood through the body. A heart transplant can be used to help those suffering from heart failure, as well as babies born with heart defects.
  • Liver – The liver secretes bile and is active in the formation of certain blood proteins and in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Liver transplants may be used to treat various conditions which cause liver failure, such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • Kidneys – Kidneys maintain proper fluid balance, regulate acid-base concentration and filter the blood of metabolic waste, which is expelled as urine. The kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organ. A kidney transplant may be recommended for those who have been diagnosed with kidney failure as a result of conditions like diabetes, hypertension or polycystic kidney disease.
  • Lungs – Lungs remove carbon dioxide from the blood and provide blood with oxygen. Lung transplants may be necessary for those with severe lung disease, such as cystic fibrosis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and emphysema.
  • Pancreas – The pancreas aids in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Pancreatic transplants typically performed for those with insulin-dependent Type I diabetes.
  • Small Intestine – The portion of the digestive tract extending from the stomach to the anus, consisting of upper and lower segments. Patients, most often children, require intestine transplants if they have been diagnosed with life-threatening intestinal diseases such as short-gut syndrome.
  • Corneas – The outer transparent lens covering the iris and pupils on the outside of the eye. Cornea transplants are a common procedure used to restore vision for those with eye diseases and corneal infections.
  • Skin – Skin protects the body from infection and injury. Skin transplants, referred to as skin grafts, are used to treat severe burns or wounds.
  • Heart Valves – Heart valves prevent the back flow of blood into the heart. Heart valve transplants are used to treat malfunctioning heart valves caused by infections, birth defects and aging.
  • Tendons – Tendons attach muscles to bones. Tendon transplants are recommended for patients who have lost muscle function and due to nerve injury or damage to tendons.
  • Bones – Bones can be used to replace or reconstruct tissue destroyed by trauma or other conditions, like cancer. Bones are often used in spinal surgeries to improve or restore mobility and health.
  • Veins – Donated veins are used to repair or restore damaged or diseased veins in patients in need.
  • Cartilage – Cartilage can be used in a variety of surgeries to restore mobility, movement and health to a patient in need.

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