Donate Life


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Katherine, her mother Nancy and the Heigl family work tirelessly to raise awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation. This is a subject very close to their hearts, as Katherine's brother Jason was a donor after he was tragically killed in a car accident in 1986.


  • More than 90,000 men, women and children currently await life-saving transplants.
  • Every 12 minutes another name is added to the national transplant waiting list.
  • An average of 17 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
  • In 2004, there were 7,150 deceased organ donors and 6,990 living organ donors resulting in 27,028 organ transplants.
  • Nearly 47,000 cornea transplants were performed in 2004.
  • Approximately 1,000,000 tissue transplants are performed annually

For the latest donation and transplantation data, information and statistics visit the UNOS Website.

How You Can Help

Donate Life America is a not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and local coalitions across the United States dedicated to inspiring all people to donate life through organ and tissue donation. Donate Life’s efforts focus on the life-saving aspects of donation and encourage people to take action now to ensure their donation wishes are carried out later.

Katherine and Nancy recipients of the
Dr. James S. Wolf Courage Award

To find out how you can help to promote donation visit the Donate Life website.

"It's hard for people to be thinking about organ donation for the first time in the midst of crisis," said Katherine in an interview for Spotlight Health in May 2002. "But organ donation is the most honorable way to preserve the memory of someone you love. I learned through difficult experience that this is the right and humanitarian thing to do. The need is always out there. Make sure the people around you know your feelings on organ donation, so your loved ones can fulfill those wishes without any doubt."

There are a number of myths surrounding organ and tissue donation, here are the facts:

Myths & Facts

Myth: If emergency room doctors know you’re an organ donor, they won’t work as hard to save you.
If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ donation can only be considered if you die and after your family has been consulted.

Myth: When you’re waiting for a transplant, your financial status or celebrity status is as important as your medical status.
Fact: When you are on the transplant waiting list for a donor organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type and other important medical information.

Myth: Having "organ donor" noted on your driver's license or carrying a donor card is all you have to do to become a donor.
Fact: While a signed donor card and a driver's license with an "organ donor" designation are legal documents, organ and tissue donation is always discussed with family members prior to the donation. To ensure that your family understands your wishes, it is important that you share your decision to donate LIFE.

Myth: I am 60 years old. I am too old to be a donor.
Fact: People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.

Myth: My family will be charged for donating my organs.
Fact: There is no cost to the donor's family or estate for organ and tissue donation. Funeral costs remain the responsibility of the family.

Please help to increase donation. Your support gives hope for a second chance at LIFE.