Carolyn Welsh, the new CEO and president of NJ Sharing Network, announced New Jersey’s number of organ donors, 283, and organs transplanted in a single year, 670, reached all-time highs in 2022. These unprecedented totals mark significant increases over the previous records of 233 organ donors and 613 organs transplanted.
2022 marked the fourth consecutive year NJ Sharing Network has reported new records in the number of organ donors, underscoring the clear trend of increased support for organ donation in the Garden State.
“Thanks to the generosity of New Jersey organ donors and their families, more lives were saved last year than ever before — ensuring others now have more time to share special moments with their loved ones,” Welsh said. “We are deeply grateful for the exceptional efforts of our team members and health care partners. They are amazing people who understand that what we do is much more than a job — it is a unified mission to save lives and give hope to those waiting for a second chance at life through the miracle of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Together, we are unstoppable, motivated to take on all challenges, and focused on offering compassionate care and support to donor families during their most difficult times of grief.”
Welsh, who began to serve in her new role Jan. 1, has held several leadership positions during her 24-year tenure at NJ Sharing Network.
In 2022, the 670 organs transplanted included 350 kidneys (an all-time high), 170 livers (another all-time high), 71 hearts, 58 lungs, 20 pancreata and one intestine. In addition, 40,000 eye and tissue gifts enhanced the quality of life for those in need. Tissue donations include corneas, heart valves, skin grafts, bone grafts, saphenous veins, ligaments and tendons. One organ donor can save eight lives, and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of over 75 people.
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health facility located in New Brunswick, had 33 organ donors in 2022, resulting in 102 organs transplanted — both are new records for the most ever in a single year by any hospital in New Jersey. The RWJBarnabas Health network of hospitals had 68 organ donors in 2022, resulting in 195 organs transplanted. Cooper University Hospital and Jersey Shore University Medical Center also set records, with 26 donors recovered at each hospital, placing them tied for second in the most donors recovered at a single hospital in a year. NJ Sharing Network proudly partners with the 57 hospitals in its service area and is thankful for their continued support in saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
According to United Network for Organ Sharing, nearly 4,000 people in New Jersey are on the organ transplant waiting list. However, Welsh believes the generosity of those in the Garden State is providing hope for the future. Welsh is eager to lead NJ Sharing Network in its bold vision for the future to save and enhance more lives than ever before. This includes achieving a goal of reaching 300 organ donors and 700 transplants in a single year by 2024.
“Less than 1% of people that die in a hospital can be an organ donor. People’s lives depend on us,” Welsh said. “We have developed strategic plans for growth that includes adding talent, resources and programs to facilitate the donor process, support donor families and increase our robust multicultural outreach and education efforts.”