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Iowa Donor Network on pace to set another record year for organ donations

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:30 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - More Iowans are saying yes to being an organ donor.

”It’s really amazing that despite the pandemic, more lives were saved than ever before,” Heather Butterfield explained, spokesperson for the Iowa Donor Network, said.

Marci Willey, of Cedar Falls, was one of those lives.

”When your heart is only functioning about 10-15% on its own, you pretty much kind of know that you know if you are not going to be able to receive this gift, that you probably won’t make it,” Willey said.

Willey received a heart transplant last July at just 37-years-old.

”It was so unreal, to realize that you get to live more of your life than you did before,” Willey said.

The Iowa Donor Network is coming off a record year with 103 donors and 300 organs transplanted in 2020. As a note, people who die of COVID-19 cannot donate their organs.

”Some people think, ‘well, of course you had more organ donors last year, there were more people passing away because of COVID.’ But in fact, we had those record numbers despite COVID-19,” Butterfield said.

200 organs have already been transplanted this year, putting the Iowa Donor Network on pace for a new record in 2021. For the people on the receiving end of a life-saving transplant, it means everything.

Marci’s loved ones had a parade in her neighborhood this summer to celebrate the one-year anniversary of her new heart.

”I am so thankful for my donor and my donor’s family. I just you know, if I wouldn’t have had that, I might not even be here right now and that just would be devastating,” Willey said.

You can register to be an organ donor here.

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