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Lemuel Bradshaw, United Tissue Resources communications director, accepts the proclamation from Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and the Hays County Commissioners Court naming April as National Donate Life Month in Hays County.
Photo courtesy of Hays County

Hays County organ, eye and tissue donors up 7% from last year

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Sometimes lives can be cut short prematurely, and priceless organs and tissues can be donated to people who really need them, ensuring that something positive comes out of a tragedy. The Hays County Commissioners Court recognized this by proclaiming April 2023 as National Donate Life Month in Hays County. The county urges all residents to consider becoming donors.

“I’m a two-time heart recipient. Both hearts [were] received at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas,” said Lemuel Bradshaw, United Tissue Resources communications director. “I have ten grandchildren, none of whom were born before my very first of two transplants. What that means is the decisions that people like those in this room and others have made let me be a part of their lives.”

The proclamation stated that National Donate Life Month is observed each April.

“While NDLM is a time to bring attention to organ donation. It also highlights the life changing benefits of eye and tissue donation. It is a time to spotlight the donors that give the gift of life, recipients whose lives have been saved and enhanced and those who died waiting to receive their gift,” the proclamation stated. “The Donate Life Texas Registry found at is the official registry for organ, eye and tissue donation in the state of Texas. Just one person who registers their intent to donate their organs, corneas and tissue may save up to eight lives through organ donation and save or heal 75 or more through corneal eye donations.”

The proclamation stated that as of April 9 2024 there are over 103,000 people on the National Transplant waiting list and more than 10,000 of them are Texans.

“Over 15 million Texans have registered as organ, eye and tissue donors on the donate life Texas registry. Using 2020 U.S. Census data, an astonishing 87% of eligible Hays County residents are registered donors,” the proclamation stated. “Almost every part of your body can be donated to save and heal. This includes the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and small intestine for organ donation. Tissue grafts including bones, skin, ligaments and tendons, nerves and heart valves — pediatric and adult — may also be donated along with corneas.”

Bradshaw said this was the third consecutive year that this proclamation was given in the court.

“It always energizes us, and sets us up, we feel, for success. And the rest of the month, donate life month, is an advocacy effort … and we feel like it really gets started once we come to Hays County,” Bradshaw said. “The news that we give you is a report on the work that we’ve done since the last time we were here.”

Bradshaw said the 87% of eligible registered organ, eye and tissue donors in Hays County represents a 7% increase from last year. He added that this puts the county among the highest percentage of registered donors compared to any other in the state.

“When I stood in front of this body last year I said, ‘We had 18 donors and their families who said yes to just tissue … in 2022,’” Bradshaw said. “Last year we had 32 families and individuals in Hays County that said yes to tissue donation.”

He said that a key factor in what his organization does is education. Each year there is a theme, and this year it is Donors Are Superstars.

“For the 100,000 or so people who are waiting on an organ transplant to save their lives [and] the millions more that will be affected by tissue and eye donation, donors may represent the only light in a sea of darkness and pain,” Bradshaw said. “That is what National Donate Life Month is meant to make people realize and remember, but it takes a different form in a county like Hays where so many people have already said yes and registered their legal intent to become organ, eye and tissue donors. Here it is also an education effort because we still have about 13% that hasn’t yet registered. We want everyone to at least consider it even though as donation advocates we really feel committed to the fact that it is a person’s right to say no. But we want your no, if it is to be a no, to be an educated no. And it can only be that if we as donation advocates give you true and correct information.”

Bradshaw said the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance facilitates organ donation in Hays County, and Miracles in Sight out of Manor facilitates corneal donations. His organization, United Tissue Resources, facilitates allograft tissue donation.

“Corneal donations … [involve] one cornea in each eye and that scleral membrane that can be used to patch damage to an eye caused by disease or decay,” Bradshaw said. “And there’s what we do at United Tissue Resources, which is bone, skin, veins, ligaments and tendons, nerves, heart valves and so forth. Together, one donor of all of those might save or heal 75 or more people — hundreds even if you consider that there are multiple tissue grafts.”

Bradshaw said he is committed to come back to court next year with even further progress.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666