Let’s be honest: 2017 was a very hard year for a lot of people. But, as the one and only Albus Dumbledore once said, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times. And it looks like we’ve already found our happiness.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the United States saw a record number of organs donated — as 2017 marked the first year more than 10,000 people had their organs donated after their death. Those tragedies for some families marked renewed optimism for others, as more than 35,000 organ transplants were performed in 2017, a 3.4 increase from the year prior.
“We are grateful that more lives are being saved, year after year, thanks to the boundless generosity of organ donors,” Dr. Yolanda Becker — president of the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/UNOS Board of Directors told NBC News. In addition to those that gave the gift of life after their deaths, about 18 percent of the incredible 35,000 organs donated came from living donors — which means people who were able to donate a kidney or part of their liver to someone else.
One of those beneficiaries was Selena Gomez, who underwent a kidney transplant over the summer thanks to a donation by her close friend Francia Raisa In a joint interview, Selena said that she was hesitant to ask anyone — but ultimately, Francia volunteered. Thanks to the surgery, there’s only a three to four percent chance of Sel’s lupus reoccurring, which is one of the many medical feats made possible by the countless donations.
In spite of the incredibly successful year that organ donation had last year, they still have a long way to go. According to UNOS, more than 115,000 Americans are currently on a waitlist for a donation. Find out how you can sign up to be a donor by visiting the DMV’s website.