Entries by ATF Staff

Celebrating National Donor Day 2024

The American Transplant Foundation has been connecting people to life for 19 years, going beyond awareness by providing real help to real families and making sure nobody goes through the transplant process alone.

Please join us in celebrating National Organ Donor Day! This special day is dedicated to celebrating organ donors and spreading awareness and education about the lifesaving act of organ donation. Last year 46,630 lives were saved by organ donation! We extend our deepest gratitude to the unsung heroes among us—remarkable organ donors, both living and departed.

As we celebrate these extraordinary individuals, we invite you to join us in honoring their legacy. Send a custom heartfelt eCard to an organ donor you know, or a family impacted by organ donation.

Every contribution fuels our Patient Assistance Program, a vital initiative that eliminates obstacles for living organ donors by compensating for lost wages during recovery.  For transplant recipients, it directly helps patients in crisis with financial support to maintain the organ that keeps them alive!

Together, let's amplify the power of love and giving on this special day.

Infographic with Statistics on Number of People who donated Organs in 2023

Last year, record high numbers of organs were transplanted in our state – 783! At the national level, 46,630 organs were transplanted in 2023. These are fantastic numbers and translate to thousands of lives saved. As of February 2024, 103,408 individuals remain on the national organ transplant waiting list. 1,254 Coloradans are still awaiting an organ transplant. This number includes 42 children under the age of 18. Although there are individuals of all ages waiting to receive a lifesaving organ, one age group saw a record high of candidates added to the national waitlist in 2023: 6,445 individuals ages 18-34.

While this number has slightly improved since the previous year, 151 individuals in Colorado did not receive the life saving donation they needed in time. Currently, 256 individuals have been on the transplant waiting list in Colorado for over 6 months. There are 69 individuals in Colorado who have been on the waiting list for 5+ years. We believe that no one should die while waiting for the Gift of Life. 

The Sobering Reality: Surge in Alcohol Abuse Creates Spike in Liver Transplant Patients

Alcohol Abuse

We recognize the sensitive nature of the topic and its impact on individuals and families. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders related to alcohol, support is available. You can reach out to SAMHSA's National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) at any time, 24/7, for confidential assistance and guidance. Remember, seeking help is a courageous step towards recovery and well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges, and one concerning trend on the rise is the increased alcohol abuse among young U.S. citizens aged 25-35. Shocking statistics from UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital reveal that more than half of liver transplants are now linked to heavy alcohol use, shedding light on the urgency of addressing this growing issue.

Since the onset of the pandemic, alcohol use has surged sharply, leading to alarming consequences. Dr. James Burton, Jr., a liver transplant expert at UCHealth, notes a significant spike in the number of young individuals in their 20s and 30s requiring liver transplants due to alcohol-related issues. This trend is not limited to a specific region but has affected people across the entire United States, contributing to a range of health problems among individuals of all ages.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

In medical circles, the term "alcoholic" has been replaced with "alcohol use disorder" to better capture the complexity of the issue. Alcohol use disorder manifests when individuals experience two or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Consuming more alcohol than intended over an extended period
  2. Persistent desire to control alcohol use
  3. Unsuccessful attempts to reduce alcohol consumption
  4. Cravings for alcohol
  5. Failure to meet obligations due to alcohol use
  6. Giving up important activities due to alcohol use
  7. Recurrent alcohol use in physically hazardous situations
  8. Physical symptoms of withdrawal after reducing or quitting drinking
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol Use Disorder

The Many Consequences of Alcohol Use Disorder

The repercussions of alcohol use disorder are vast and severe, ranging from high blood pressure to an increased risk of stroke, cancer, severe liver disease, dangerous sexual encounters, miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal alcohol disorders, and, in extreme cases, death.

Specifically, alcohol-associated liver diseases such as fatty liver disease, alcohol-associated hepatitis, and cirrhosis have become prevalent. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to cirrhosis, a condition characterized by permanent liver damage that can be life-threatening.

Nationally, the need for liver transplants due to alcohol-associated hepatitis has doubled. Women, in particular, are more vulnerable to severe liver disease related to drinking, as their bodies contain proportionately less water and more fat. This physiological difference makes them more susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol.

The rise in alcohol abuse among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic is a critical issue demanding attention and action. Addressing alcohol use disorder and its associated health risks requires a comprehensive approach, including public awareness campaigns, accessible support systems, and improved healthcare initiatives. By understanding the severity of the problem and working collaboratively, we can strive to reverse this concerning trend and promote a healthier, alcohol-responsible society.

Alcohol Alternative, Mocktail

Incorporate a mocktail into your usual Friday night with friends!

Taking Control: Tips for Limiting Alcohol Consumption and Nurturing Liver Health

As we confront the alarming rise in alcohol abuse, it's crucial for individuals to take proactive steps to assess and limit their alcohol intake. Implementing simple yet effective strategies can contribute to improved liver health and overall well-being. Here are actionable tips to consider:

Appraise your Drinking Habits: Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test

Begin by honestly evaluating your alcohol consumption using tools like the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. This self-assessment can provide insights into your drinking habits and potential risks.

Stay Aware of your Consumption: CDC Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption

Familiarize yourself with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which recommend no more than 14 drinks per week for men and 7 drinks per week for women. If you exceed these limits, it's time to reevaluate your drinking habits.

Attempt Abstaining: Embrace the Dry January Trend

Consider reducing or completely abstaining from alcohol for a month, following the popular trend known as Dry January. This hiatus allows you to observe positive changes in various aspects of your life, including energy levels and sleep habits.

Devise a Strategy: Opt for Alternatives in Social Situations

Develop a plan for social situations where alcohol is present. Opt for non-alcoholic mocktails such as seltzer water with lime or non-alcoholic alternatives to your favorite beverage. This strategy ensures you can still enjoy social gatherings without compromising your health.

Seek External Support: Utilize Support Systems

Don't hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or online communities. Organizations like Moderation Management (https://moderation.org/) offer valuable resources and support for individuals looking to manage their alcohol consumption. This national nonprofit is a recognized resource, and 5280 lists it as a helpful avenue for external assistance with alcohol use.

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Living Kidney Donor and Wife Ride 118 Miles to Save Lives!

Once again, the American Transplant Foundation is sending its thanks and kudos to Scott and Amy La Point, the impressive pair of cyclists who conquered 118 miles and 10,000 feet of unforgiving Colorado altitude to raise funds for our Patient Assistance Program.

The La Points’ participation in the legendary Triple Bypass, a Colorado cycling race that starts in Evergreen, ends in Avon, and encompasses three major mountain passes along the way, has helped the ATF provide direct aid to organ donors and recipients in need. The couple surpassed their fundraising goal days before the race even began, and finished with a respectable time despite the brutal July heat.  

Scott La Point is a living kidney donor and transplant activist who gave the gift of life to friend Jim Eastman in 2017. He and his wife Amy have an impressive resume with Team Transplant and have ridden all over Colorado, leaving raised funds and awareness in their wake. After the race, Scott made some closing remarks on Instagram:  

The 5 a.m. start time was earlier than I wanted to set out, but beating the heat was the name of the game for this year's Triple Bypass. That we wouldn't finish until after 7 p.m. wasn't something I was accustomed to either. But, hey, my wife persevered and did 118 miles and 10,800 feet of climbing. I managed to get in an extra 2 miles and 1,200 feet of climbing with my accordion back-to-back riding (going ahead then back to get Amy), and I was more tired than I'd expected. But we managed to top our goal for the American Transplant Foundation, meaning patients undergoing a transplant can get lifesaving financial assistance. Thanks to all my wonderful donors (money and organ) and friends! 

The LaPoints have achieved two incredible feats in vanquishing the Bypass- One of the body, and one of the heart. The American Transplant Foundation would again like to thank them, and those who donated to their participation, for their continued support of the transplant community.  


Effective altruism – How to do good in an effective way

“There are many things effective altruists can do. Not only to donate money but also a part of your body”. These are the words of Peter Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He connects the donation of organs to the concept of effective altruism. But – what is effective altruism?  

Becoming a living donor is an example that suits especially well in the category of effective altruism since it is a highly effective way to increase human health and contribute to the wellbeing of society.  

Many people want to do good but do not know how. Out of this dilemma effective altruism arose. Its goal is to find the best ways to help others and put them into practice. This can be manifested in many different actions, from choosing a job with a positive impact to donating money, such as within the Save Life Giving Club of the American Transplant Foundation or exploring the many other ways to give altruistically

The American Transplant Foundation is proud to have a lot of altruistic donors within its network. All the 6,400 people who made a living donor transplantation possible in 2022 follow effective altruism principles. One additional aspect of effective altruism lies in the concept of maximizing the benefit for society without prioritizing one's own family or friends. In this context, it is interesting to know that 1 in three living donors donate their organ to a person they have never met before. 

Do you also want to follow the principles of the movement “effective altruism” and become a living donor? You can find all the relevant information here 

Make a Donation in Honor of a Loved One

Honoring the memory, life, or generosity of a loved one is one of the most meaningful gifts a person can give.  

Marc Geman knew this when he set up a fundraiser in his wife’s name, Elin Robbins-Geman - a mentor at the American Transplant Foundation who passed away last year. She was a well-loved member of the Boulder community, who touched the lives of many through her work as an elementary school teacher and as a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother. Elin knew firsthand what the gift of organ donation means to a person, as her daughter’s husband donated his kidney to her in 2006, extending her life an additional sixteen years and allowing her to make countless more memories. In lieu of flowers, and to honor her legacy, the family asked those who knew her to make donations to the American Transplant Foundation. 

Celebrate the lives of the extraordinary people who touched your life by paying it forward. 

Change the life of a transplant recipient by making a donation to the American Transplant Foundation and notify your honoree or honoree’s loved ones with an e-card and personalized message. 100% of your donation goes toward our Patient Assistance Program, a critical program providing emergency financial assistance to transplant patients and living donors when they need it the most.  

Interested in other types of donations? Learn about fundraising, our events, and donating your vehicle. Find information about becoming a living organ donor and view profiles of those in need here. 

Transplant Caregiver Resource Guide!

At the American Transplant Foundation, our goal is to support transplant patients as well as their friends and families! We created a list of financial, educational, and emotional support resources available to the informal caregivers within the transplant community. 

The American Transplant Foundation works to support transplant patients as well as the caregivers who are so important to their care! We have compiled a list of nation-wide financial, educational, and emotional support resources available to those serving as informal transplant caregivers.

Please also take a moment to review our 1+1=LIFE Mentorship Program and Financial Resource Guide.

If you have any questions or information relevant to this guide, please email support@americantransplantfoundation.org.

Living Donor Laws, Rights, and Tax Credits

Are you interested in saving a life through living donation?

At the American Transplant Foundation, our passion is helping patients navigate through their transplant journeys. We strive to provide the most up-to-date information on Living Donation so that you can be well informed when choosing to give the gift of life!

ATF’s 2023 Financial Resource Guide!

Check Out American Transplant Foundation's 2023 Financial Resource Guide

Our goal is to provide up-to-date information on financial, educational, and emotional support resources for transplant recipients, living organ donors, and their families!

Update: 3-year-old Nya found a kidney!

3-year-old Nya found a kidney!

Update: Since the below blog has been posted, Nya has found a living kidney donor! 💚 Words from her mother: "We’re so grateful! Thank you for your help in providing a space to help find potential donors. It really is incredibly important to have as many resources as possible."


My name is Deanna, and I am asking for your help to save my daughter Nya's life.

Nya is a 3 year old old twin from San Jose, CA. She loves bubbles, playing with balls, and Bubble guppies.

Nya’s life has been greatly impacted by her End Stage Renal Disease. She has been hospitalized almost half her life. She is on dialysis, over 10 medications, daily injections and is 100% tube fed. 

The most difficult thing for us about waiting for a transplant is watching Nya suffer when she’s not feeling well. Slowly watching her health decline is heartbreaking.

We are desperately seeking a living organ donor for Nya. 

The waiting list for a deceased donor kidney could take years. The longer she is on dialysis, the more risk she has for serious infections and complications. Finding a living donor would mean giving Nya a second chance at life. A life without machines to keep her alive.

Both myself and her dad are not a match, she needs a type O- or O+ kidney donor. 

Living donor transplants generally have better outcomes and can be arranged at a time convenient for both parties. No waiting and wondering while my body continues to weaken. More so, this surgery is covered for both the donor and the recipient under my health insurance!

If you have any questions or concerns about the living donation process in any aspect, please sign up for the American Transplant Foundation's Potential Living Donor Database and we can provide you with any resources you may need, including speaking with a living organ donor directly.

I would appreciate you sharing this information with anyone that you know who might be interested or a match. 

Thank you so much for your consideration!

Deanna- Nya's Mother