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Donor Network West sets new record for organ donations

San Ramon nonprofit also names new CEO to lead expansion into future

Donor Network West, a San Ramon-based organ and tissue recovery organization, is coming off a successful 2018, setting an internal record for the number of organ donations in a year.

And the nonprofit will look to improve upon an established reputation of success with the selection of Janice F. Whaley as its new CEO.

Whaley will look to guide the organization as it enters its 32rd year of operation, now serving an estimated 13 million people in its areas of coverage across Northern California and Nevada.

"With nearly 10,000 people waiting for organ transplants in our service area, we are compelled to do everything in our power to give them hope by increasing donation," Whaley said in a statement. "I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization and will challenge myself and our staff to continue to increase our donor numbers to transform lives as we gratefully respect the generosity of our donors and their families."

In 2018, Donor Network West received contributions from 319 organ donors -- its largest number of organ donors ever for a single year -- and 2,168 tissue donors, with 53% of those donors having registered themselves on official donor registries. According to the nonprofit, those donations will be used to help improve the lives of 73,500 people.

Whaley took the reins at Donor Network West on Jan. 2, bringing a wealth of experience with helping save lives, particularly for patients on the transplant waiting list.

Prior to coming out West, she served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma, where for five years she consistently oversaw an increase in the number of organ donors, officials said. This track-record placed LifeShare among the top organ procurement organizations in the United States.

A longtime industry leader, Whaley saw similar results as managing director at LifeGift, a Texas-based organ procurement organization, and helped lead its largest region in Houston. While there she oversaw five transplant centers with 24 separate transplant programs, but still managed to set record numbers for the area.

She looks to continue the success realized last year by Donor Network West, which works to facilitate organ and tissue recovery for transplantation, serving 175 hospitals and over 13 million people across 40 counties.

After partnering with San Ramon Regional Medical Center's Outpatient Surgery Center three years ago, on Dec. 26 the organizations celebrated their 250th organ donor. Since the partnership's inception, a total of 784 organs have been collected for those in need.

"The collaboration, the first of its kind in California, has enabled Donor Network West to provide donor families a more certain time frame for the recovery of organs and reduces the overall time between organ referral and recovery," Donor Network West's director of communications Cathy Koubek, wrote in a statement.

In Contra Costa County, 885 patients are currently waiting for a transplant, approximately 58 of whom reside in the San Ramon Valley, according to the organization’s interactive Organ Transplant Wait List Map. Officials note that 52.80% of Contra Costa County residents are registered as organ donors, but they are always looking to see that number increase.

Anyone can register as a donor by visiting their local DMV or online at DonorNetworkWest.org.

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