Center Dedicated to Organ Donation Succeeds in First Year Despite COVID-19

Rio Grande Valley Region Reports Record Number of Donors

January 26, 2021 12:00 PM EST

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SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --  During an unprecedented year with unique challenges, Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), the organ procurement organization that provides organ donation and recovery services for individuals and families in Central and South Texas, announced it was able to help 189 donor heroes provide 594 organ transplants in 2020.

By escalating plans to transfer donors to the new Center for Life (CFL) for organ and tissue recovery at University Hospital, TOSA was able to alleviate the strain on local hospitals focused on caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In its first year, the CFL cared for 77 organ donors.

"It was such a turbulent year, but we were still able to accomplish our goals," said TOSA President & CEO Joseph Nespral. "We were able to adapt to our circumstances and still offer families an opportunity to save lives through the power of organ donation. It was a phenomenal year of donor heroes changing lives."

In a first for TOSA's Southern Region of the Rio Grande Valley, a record 28 individuals became organ donors. Within TOSA's designated service area, which extends from Waco to Brownsville, a record 52 percent of donors made the decision to save lives by being registered organ donors with Donate Life Texas, the state's official registry. Also in 2020, 14 percent of families initiated the organ donation conversation.

For the Lopez family of San Antonio, the tragic and unexpected death of 12-year-old Samantha on Halloween gave the family a chance to save lives.

"Donation for us was turning a negative into a positive," said Jordan Lopez, Samantha's sister who was also the recipient of her sister's cornea to restore her eyesight. "We are still grieving and at the end of the day I imagine those recipients and how happy and relieved those families are knowing their loved ones are receiving a transplant. That is the most fulfilling part."

In 2020, the official state registry, Donate Life Texas, also grew. Nearly 220,000 individuals from Central and South Texas were added to the registry.

To learn more about organ donation, TOSA's community initiatives or to register as a life-saving organ donor, visit

Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), founded in 1975, is one of 57 federally-designated Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) in the United States. TOSA is committed to a mission of saving lives through the power of organ donation by providing organ donation and recovery services to Central and South Texans wishing to donate, and to those waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. 

Contact: Clarissa Thompson | 210.264.8124@TxOrganSharing •

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SOURCE Texas Organ Sharing Alliance

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