IN FOCUS Discussion: The impact of organ donations in Utah

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Many people will remember 2020 as the year of a worldwide pandemic, civil unrest, and a contested presidential election in the United States. But at the same time, a record number of Utahns will look back at 2020 as the year they got a second chance at life. Others will remember it as a year of great loss, but a loss they turned into a life-saving miracle for someone else.

During the pandemic, a number of drivers license offices across the country closed down. But the ones in Utah stayed open, all while employees participated in DonorConnect’s t-shirt campaign, to encourage Utahns to select “YES!” to being a donor on their drivers license. It may be one of the reasons why the state saw a record-breaking year of organ, eye, and tissue donors in 2020.

Terri Salas, a kidney transplant recipient and her daughter, Adriana Olman joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. to talk about who she received a donation from, the momentous events in her life that she was able to enjoy because of the transplant, and how the event impacted their family.

Tom and Donna Ostler shared why they decided to donate their son, Tyler’s tissues after he passed away 14 years ago in a forklift accident, how they think their son would have felt about the donation, and what it means knowing their son’s donation helped saved the lives of others.

Mark Dixon, Public Education and Public Relations Director for DonorConnect discussed the logistics of being an organ donor, the emotional toll that Utahns on the transplant waiting list experience, and how the employees at Utah’s drivers license divisions play a role in keeping numbers up with organ donor registrations.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Salas, Oman, the Ostlers, and Dixon, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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