Valley hospitals raising organ donation awareness as waiting list grows

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According to data from Donate Life America and the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, as many as 17 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant while there are still 103,223 people who are currently on the national transplant waiting list, and a person is added every eight minutes.

Facing such dire need, the Rio Grande Valley’s healthcare institutions are holding events to raise awareness about that need and how you can help.

South Texas Health System on Thursday announced that it’s holding a candlelight vigil Tuesday, April 30, to honor the donors and their families who helped save lives, and to hear from the organ transplant recipients whose lives have been changed as a result.

That event will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at South Texas Health System McAllen, located at 301 W. Expressway 83 in McAllen.

The vigil is in time for National Donate Life Month, which is observed in April.

DHR Health also brought awareness to organ donations on April 2 when staff met with Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez and the commissioners court to proclaim April as National Donate Life Month in Hidalgo County.

Additionally, DHR Health Brownsville partnered with Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. and county commissioners for a similar proclamation there on April 9.

According to Donate Life America, 23,288 organ donors helped bring life back to recipients in 2023. With just one donor doctors can save up to eight lives while a cornea donation can help restore the sight of two people and tissue donations help the lives of 75 people.

In 2023, there were 909 deceased organ donors and 561 living donors in the state of Texas, according to data from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration.

To register for organ donation, visit Donate Life Texas at