Franciscan Health and Gift of Hope remind the community that the need for organ donors can’t wait for the pandemic to end
With 100,000-plus people waiting for life-saving organ transplants, the need for donors didn’t stop with the pandemic.
During National Donate Life Month in April, Franciscan Health is working with Gift of Hope to encourage people to register as eye, tissue and organ donors and to honor those who have saved lives through the gift of donation.
“Organ and tissue donation is a wonderful way to honor a loved one – by giving the gift of life or sight to someone else,” said Franciscan Health Crown Point Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services Dawn Scott.
“At Gift of Hope, we honor and celebrate the life and legacy of organ and tissue donors all year long,” said Dr. Harry Wilkins, President and CEO at Gift of Hope. “National Donate Life Month is an opportunity to work with our donation partners and advocates to focus attention on the critical need for registered donors and on the importance of sharing your decision to donate with your families and loved ones. This special time brings the community together to collectively help save lives.
Another person is added to the nation’s organ transplant list every 10 minutes, and an average of 20 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time. While 90 percent of Americans support organ donation, only 58 percent are registered donors.
Linda Kraiko, senior director of patient services at Franciscan Health Hammond, pointed out that while most people think of traditional organ donation, other types of donations are much more common.
“It’s not just organs, it’s tissue, cornea and bones. One patient can give two corneas,” Kraiko said. “The skin and tissue donation is just as important as the organ donation. Skin can be of use to burn victims. If you know of anyone who’s had a hip or knee replacement, sometimes they need cadaver bone. There’s so many ways you can donate.”
Donate Life, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has canceled the in-person events it has traditionally held to share the stories of organ transplant recipients and donors. Instead, Franciscan Health and Donate Life invite the public to register as an organ donor by going online at
By adding your name to the donor registry today you will be helping to save and enhance the lives of more than 25 people. People of all ages and medical histories can be potential deceased donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine which organs and tissue can be donated.
Even with the challenges and additional safety precautions put in place during the pandemic, Franciscan Health has continued to provide lifesaving and life-changing donations at its hospitals in Lake County and South Suburban Chicago. A total of seven organ donations and 100 tissue donations were completed during 2020.
2020 Organ Donations at Franciscan Health Hospitals
Crown Point 1 organ 23 tissue
Dyer 2 organ 21 tissue
Hammond 2 organ 17 tissue
Munster 1 organ 9 tissue
Olympia Fields 1 organ 30 tissue