Organ donation reached an all-time record high in New Jersey in 2021, as 233 generous individuals gave the gift of life. That's up from 222 donors in 2020

President and CEO of NJ Sharing Network, Joe Roth said he has a three-year plan to reach 300 donors. He hopes to have 260 donors for 2022, 280 for 2023, and 300 for 2024.

"We owe this achievement, first and foremost to our donor heroes who generously gave the gift of life, as well as their supportive families. We are also deeply grateful for the extraordinary efforts of our team members and healthcare partners who work around the clock to help power our life-saving mission," Roth said.

He said this year's organ donation milestone was achieved despite the challenges related to COVID-19. The pandemic has affected everyone's lives but COVID did not preclude someone from becoming an organ donor, he added.

In 2021, Roth said 599 organs were transplanted thanks to donors in New Jersey. Those included 322 kidneys, 151 livers (a new record for liver recoveries), 57 hearts, 49 lungs, and 20 pancreases.

Also, 42,112 eye and tissue donations helped heal and enhance the quality of life for those in need. Tissue donations included corneas, heart valves, skin grafts, bone grafts, saphenous veins, ligaments, and tendons.

According to United Network for Organ Sharing, nearly 4,000 people in New Jersey are on the organ transplant waiting list and one person dies every three days waiting for a transplant.

Roth urges everyone to become an organ donor. New Jersey is a very diverse community, he said. NJ Sharing Network focuses hard on that diversity to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to become potential organ donors, give the gift of life and save people of both the same race and other races.

There are people in your community you may not know or some you may not know who desperately need an organ transplant.

Roth said it's important to recognize that less than one-tenth of one percent of those who sign up to become organ donors on the organ donor registry, become organ donors.

While there were 233 organ donors in New Jersey last year, there were over 36,000 deaths in the state, Roth said.

One organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of over 75 people.

It's easy to become an organ donor in New Jersey.

- Register online at www.NJSharingNetwork.org

- Through the iPhone Health App

- In-person at any local motor vehicle agency

Inside ISLAND Waterpark, coming soon to Atlantic City