NJ Sharing Network: Helping to Save Lives

By Taylor Smith 

NJ Sharing Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissues for those in need of a life-saving transplant. According to its website, nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are in need of a transplantation. The organization operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is staffed by a team of more than 150 highly-trained and dedicated advocates. 

The NJ Sharing Network was founded in 1987. Since then, the organization has strived to educate the general public about how transplantation can save lives, with the goal of increasing the number of organ donors. By working closely with state lawmakers, NJ Sharing Network facilitated the passing of the 2008 Hero Act, which mandates donation education in public high school curriculums, for “public institutes of higher learning and as a condition for graduation for professional nursing and medical school programs.”

In October 2018, NJ Sharing Network recognized Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark for its efforts to save lives through organ and tissue donation. Since the beginning of 2018, Saint Michael’s has assisted in gifting two organ donors resulting five organs transplanted — two livers, two kidneys, and a heart. The hospital, a member of the Prime Healthcare Network, also assisted in gifting three tissue donors resulting in 174 gifts, including bone, skin, and corneas. 

“Our hospital partners are vital to our life-saving mission,” said Joe Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network. “With nearly 4,000 people in New Jersey in need of a transplant and 115,000 across the country, the work that hospital partners like Saint Michael’s do to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation is critical in helping more patients receive transplants.”

The Family Services team offers ongoing support, beginning at the hospital and continuing with grief resources, workshops, and events to celebrate the lives of donors. The Family Service team maintains backgrounds in chaplaincy, social work, bereavement counseling, and grief recovery support. They can provide assistance in finding resources regarding donation, updates on recipients, assist with donor family/recipient correspondence, and information on how to get involved with the organization. 

More than 12,000 people are expected to attend the 2020 Transplant Games of America on July 17-22 at the Meadowlands in Newark, N.J. This provides an opportunity for all transplant recipients, living donors, donor families, transplant professionals, caregivers, supporters, and volunteers to raise donation awareness on a national level. Learn more at https://www.njsharingnetwork.org/tgameadowlands2020.