What We Do

Lifesharing creates heroes through the miracle of organ and tissue donation.

When an individual’s life cannot be saved, it’s our job to see if their organs and tissues can help others. Our medical staff works 24/7 to ensure these lifesaving gifts reach patients in need.

Lifesharing helps transplant hundreds of vital organs each year including hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys. We also recover tissue for transplantation. Tissue transplants can improve the quality of life for thousands of patients each year — corneas restore sight, skin can heal burn victims and tendons can help rebuild joints.

Lifesharing supports families in the wake of their loved one’s death and compassionately guides them through the donation process. We are humbled by the generosity of San Diegans and grateful for the support of our hospital and professional partners.

We are proud to be the federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) serving San Diego and Imperial Counties in Southern California. Our unwavering commitment to saving lives has made us one of the top performing OPOs in the nation.

Recent News

Donate Life

April is Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month, a celebration designed to raise awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation. The logo was designed by Donate Life America and features a pond coming to life in spring. The artwork is symbolic: frogs are a sign of renewal, since they begin their lives as tadpoles. This April, we invite you to be part of our community by registering as organ, eye and tissue donors. There are more than 100,000 patients on the transplant waiting list in the U.S. – and approximately 2,000 of those patients live in San Diego and Imperial Counties. If you have a California driver license, you can register as a donor using the tab here:

Done Vida
Lifesharing Record 2022 Donor Recipients

Lifesharing Saves a Record Number of Lives in 2022

In another milestone year, Lifesharing saved a record 437 lives in 2022. As the organ procurement organization (OPO) serving San Diego and Imperial Counties, Lifesharing coordinates organ and tissue donation at the end of a person’s life. Last year, we helped transplant 211 kidneys, 93 livers, 65 lungs, 57 hearts and 11 pancreases (also known as pancreata). The total number – 437 – is a new annual record for Lifesharing. “These numbers represent lives saved,” said Executive Director Jeff Trageser. He said the milestone was made possible by the hard work of our medical team and the generosity of people in the San Diego region. “It’s all centered on the families who chose to donate. They’re the ones who did this,” said Trageser. Lifesharing coordinated donations from 140 organ donors and 430 tissue donors in 2022. Organ donors are a beacon of hope for patients on the transplant waiting list, while tissue donors improve a person’s quality of life. (Lifesharing recovers tissues such as heart valves for cardiac patients, skin for burn victims and tendons to rebuild joints.) The contributions of San Diego organ donors helped propel the nation’s transplantation system to new heights. According to OPTN (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network), the U.S. recorded 42,887 organ transplants in 2022 – the most ever in a single year.

Lifesharing Announces 2023 Rose Parade Float Honorees

Lifesharing is proud to announce San Diego Fire-Rescue Capt. Robin Cervantes as its 2023 Rose Parade Honoree. The late Capt. Cervantes became an organ donor in 2019 after Lifesharing found matching recipients for his heart, liver and kidneys. His floral portrait will be featured on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, along with the portraits of organ and tissue donors from across the country. Meanwhile, Donate Life California has chosen Lifesharing volunteer (and recent Mt. Miguel High School graduate) Xavier McLeod as their designated rider on the float. McLeod received a kidney transplant as a child — he is living proof of the power of organ donation. Both Lifesharing and Donate Life California are proud sponsors of the 2023 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, “Lifting Each Other Up.” The float celebrates the special bond between donor families and transplant recipients.

Lifesharing Honors Organ and Tissue Donors for Día de los Muertos

Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday where it’s believed that the spirits of our deceased loved ones return to earth. Every year, Lifesharing builds a beautiful ofrenda (altar) to honor its recent organ and tissue donors. In keeping with tradition, the photo of each donor is displayed on the ofrenda along with food, candles and marigolds. A sugar skull is also placed next to each photo, to represent the individual who has passed. Lifesharing team members spend hours creating traditional sugar skulls for each donor, decorating them in a way that tells the story of the person’s life. During Día de los Muertos, Lifesharing donor families are invited to view the ofrenda at our offices in Mission Valley. This celebration not only pays tribute to our heroes, it helps us educate the public about organ and tissue donation. In the San Diego region, Latino patients comprise the single largest group on the transplant waiting list. For some of these patients, the best organ match may come from a donor who shares the same ethnicity — a diverse donor registry can potentially save more lives.

Ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos 2022
Jeff Trageser, Executive Director

Jeff Trageser Named Executive Director of Lifesharing

Lifesharing is proud to announce Jeff Trageser as its new leader. Trageser will officially assume the role of executive director on October 16th, 2022, having guided Lifesharing for nearly a year as interim leader. Trageser has maintained Lifesharing’s status as a top-tier organ procurement organization (OPO), and both its organ and tissue teams are projected to see a record number of donors by the end of this year.

“I’m excited to build on the strong foundation of success and innovation here at Lifesharing,” said newly named Executive Director Jeff Trageser. “We have a talented group that has made an amazing difference in the lives of donor families and transplant recipients.”

Trageser joined Lifesharing in 2005. At the time, he was working as an ICU nurse in one of the busiest intensive care units in the city. Impressed by his ability to diffuse tension and handle emergencies, Lifesharing recruited Trageser to work as an organ procurement coordinator (OPC).

Trageser’s work ethic and clinical acumen eventually propelled him into the role of Lifesharing clinical services director, where he oversaw the medical team. And when longtime Lifesharing leader Lisa Stocks retired in 2021, Trageser rose to the challenge as interim director.

Lifesharing is Proud to Sponsor the 2022 Donate Life Transplant Games in San Diego

July 29 – August 3rd at the Convention Center and various locations throughout the city

Billed as “the world’s largest celebration of life,” the Transplant Games bring together thousands of transplant recipients for a week of athletic and recreational competitions. There are 37 teams from across the country taking part, along with three international teams from Brazil, Colombia and Australia. On Saturday July 30th, there will be a parade at 9 a.m. in downtown San Diego to officially kick off the games. The parade route starts near the County Administration Building and ends near the San Diego Convention Center. The public is welcome to watch the parade in person or remotely — it will be streamed live on As a sponsor of the games, Lifesharing will have a booth at the Transplant Games of America’s Village — located at the San Diego Convention Center in Hall AB. Lifesharing is also leading the efforts to create a tribute event during the games to honor organ and tissue donors.

For more information on the games please visit

Transplant Games 2022 San Diego

“They Soldier On Like Warriors”

Lifesharing’s Tissue Team Featured in TransplantNATION Magazine

The heroic work of Lifesharing’s Tissue Department was highlighted in a two-page spread in the May issue of TransplantNATION Magazine. These dedicated individuals work night and day to coordinate the donation of human tissue for transplantation. Corneas restore sight, skin can heal burn victims and tendons can rebuild joints, just to cite a few examples. Each gift holds the promise of hope for recipients who are in pain or suffering from traumatic injuries. But tissue must be recovered within 24 hours of a patient’s death, so each case is a race against the clock. And recovering human corneas and tissues is a delicate art, often compared to a surgical procedure — Lifesharing’s recovery technicians spend three to six hours on each case. The impact of tissue donation is monumental: a single tissue donor can help as many as 75 people.

Meet Lifesharing's Transplant Team

Lifesharing Wins a Regional Emmy and Three “Finest Awards” for Films and PR Campaigns Promoting Organ Donation

2022 Lifesharing Media Awards

Lifesharing’s films and public relations efforts have garnered four prestigious awards this year. On June 18, 2022, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences held its 48th Annual Emmy Awards program in Palm Springs, California. Lifesharing was nominated in two categories: “Video Essay” and “Editor — Short Form Content.” Competing against filmmakers and photographers from Southern California and Las Vegas, Lifesharing Public Relations Director Anne State picked up an Emmy for her editing work, taking home a statuette in the short form content category. And Lifesharing was a triple-winner at the “Finest Awards” hosted by the Health Care Communicators of Southern California. On May 6, 2022, Lifesharing received a “Gold” award and two “Silvers”. Public Relations Director Anne State received Gold for a video news release she created to celebrate the start of Donate Life Month. She also received two silver awards in the categories of Media Relations and Multicultural PR Campaigns — the latter of which she shares the honor with Lifesharing Family Services Manager Wendy Garrison. Garrison’s team created a beautiful tribute to organ and tissue donors during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Lifesharing Announces 2022 Nurse of the Year


Jaclyn (“Jackie”) Russe is Lifesharing’s “Nurse of the Year” and UC San Diego Health’s Nurse Consultant award winner. The accolades were announced during Nurses Week, which runs from May 6 – 12, 2022. In her position as a Lifesharing organ procurement coordinator, Jackie travels to hospitals throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. When a patient’s life cannot be saved, it’s Jackie’s job to try and save their organs. She uses her critical care skills to keep organs viable for transplant, while she searches for the best recipient match on the transplant waiting list. Jackie has saved countless lives by finding new homes for donated organs such as hearts, lungs, kidneys and livers. Jackie builds strong bonds with the families of our organ donor heroes — and she works tirelessly to ensure their loved ones live on through donation. Every year, Jackie honors our donors during Día de los Muertos.

Jaclyn Russe, 2022 Nurse of the Year

Lifesharing Sees Record Number of Organ Donors in 2021

Despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lifesharing saw a record 146 organ donors last year. Thanks to these heroes, Lifesharing was able to save 413 lives through organ donation. To illustrate the magnitude of this, Lifesharing placed 413 roses in its memorial garden — one for each life saved in 2021. Lifesharing also carried out tissue donations for 405 selfless individuals last year. A single tissue donor can help dozens of people: heart valves can give life, skin can heal burn victims and corneas can give sight. The milestones achieved in 2021 were made possible by the generosity of San Diegans, the perseverance of Lifesharing’s team and the cooperation of numerous hospital and professional partners.

Lifesharing Saves Lives
2022 Rose Parade Donate Life Float

Donate Life Float named “Most Extraordinary” in the Rose Parade

A float honoring organ and tissue donors has won the Extraordinaire Award from the Tournament of Roses. Lifesharing was a proud sponsor of the 2022 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, which was recognized as the parade’s most extraordinary entry. The float featured the floral portraits of 35 organ and tissue donors, including Robert (“Robby”) Barksdale, Jr.    Barksdale was a San Diego sailor who saved five lives when Lifesharing carried out his organ donation in 2018. Several of the sailor’s family members made the journey to Pasadena to cheer the float as it carried his image down Colorado Boulevard. This year’s float was called “Courage to Hope,” and its design was inspired by the majestic winged lion of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy. The float celebrated the courage of organ donors and their families.

San Diego Sailor to Represent Lifesharing on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float

Robby Barksdale Jr., Rose Parade Honoree

Lifesharing has chosen organ donor Robert (“Robby”) Barksdale, Jr., as its Rose Parade Honoree for 2022. His floral portrait will be featured on the Donate Life Float, which pays tribute to organ and tissue donors from around the country. Barksdale, Jr., was a brilliant, charismatic and generous young man who served as a Damage Controlman in the U.S. Navy. Assigned to USS Bunker Hill, Barksdale, Jr., was based in San Diego at the time of his death in 2018. He suffered fatal injuries as the result of a motorcycle accident and his family made the courageous decision to donate his organs. Lifesharing found matching recipients for his heart, kidneys, lungs, liver and pancreas. Barksdale, Jr., saved five lives as an organ donor hero.

Lifesharing is a proud sponsor of Courage to Hope, the 2022 Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Featuring the winged lion of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, the float celebrates the courage of organ donors and their families. You can watch the Rose Parade live on January 1, 2022 on select networks and channels.

2022 Donate Life Float

Robby's Family with his Floral Portrait

Robby’s family displays the floral portrait they created for him. Left to right: godfather Kevin Brooks, mother Shanteé Broussard and father Robert Barksdale, Sr.

Robby's Family Decorating the 2022 Rose Parade Float

Robby’s family decorating the 2022 Donate Life Float

Lifesharing Lead Family Services Specialist Melissa Culver displays 19 hero medals – one for each life that was saved in a recent 48-hour period.

Lifesharing Saves 19 Lives in 48 Hours

In an extraordinary display of generosity, Lifesharing organ donors saved 19 lives in a period of just two days. This is a remarkable milestone for the San Diego region, because organ donation is a rare occurrence. Statistically, less than 1% of the population will die in a way that will let them become organ donors. Recently, our team managed six donor cases simultaneously — the number we typically see in a 2-week period. There was no medical reason for the high number of cases; we were able to save lives simply because six families said “yes” to organ donation. During this 48-hour period, Lifesharing nurses found matching recipients for 19 organs, including hearts, kidneys, lungs and livers. Our surgical coordinators then worked tirelessly to ensure each organ stayed healthy on the journey to the recipient.

August is National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month

All communities are impacted by the organ shortage… and all communities are part of the solution. Throughout the month of August, there will be a nationwide effort to encourage people to register as organ and tissue donors. While it’s true that transplants can be successful regardless of the race of the donor and recipient, the chance of longer-term survival may be improved if both share a similar genetic background. Currently, there are more than 2,000 people on the transplant waiting list in San Diego, and almost 75% of them are from multi-cultural communities. During the month of August, we will be sharing the stories of our heroes on social media, in the hopes of inspiring more people to register as organ and tissue donors.

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Lifesharing Wins 2 Emmy Awards for Film Honoring Organ Donors

Lifesharing was a double winner at the 47th Annual Emmy Awards Program on June 3, 2021. The Pacific Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognized Lifesharing for outstanding achievement in two categories: Video Essay and Branded Content. The film, “Remembering Our Organ and Tissue Donors for Día de los Muertos,” tells the story of the beautiful ofrenda (altar) that Lifesharing employees created in 2020 to honor recent donors. The stories of several heroes were also featured in the film. Lifesharing’s Public Relations Director Anne State received two statuettes for her photography and video editing on the film. Executive Director Lisa Stocks was also awarded a statuette for her role as producer. In their award acceptance speeches, both paid tribute to the profound generosity of Lifesharing’s heroes and donor families.

Be Part of Lifesharing’s Memorial Rock Garden

Memorial Rock Garden

Dedicated in early 2021, Lifesharing’s Memorial Rock Garden is a peaceful spot under the trees where donor families can place stones in memory of their loved ones. The small garden is located in front of our offices in Mission Valley for all to enjoy.

Art was not her only gift to the world

San Diegan Claire Tipler was an expressive visual artist who loved painting, photography and dance. When she passed away at the age of 21, she saved 3 adults and one child through organ donation. (Lifesharing found matching recipients for her heart, liver and kidneys.) Over the summer of 2020, Claire’s mother organized an art project in memory of her daughter and our team was humbled to take part. In this video produced by Lifesharing, Claire’s parents describe her passion for art and adventure and how organ donation helped them find meaning in the wake of their daughter’s death. In a second video for Lifesharing, Claire’s mother describes the organ donation process step-by-step, calling it “a sacred process.”

Claire Tipler opt

Heart Recipient Invites Organ Donor’s Family to His Wedding


In the late 1990s, Chris Truxaw collapsed at school. A firefighter approached Christopher’s mother with tears in his eyes, as he explained that her son’s heart had stopped. Chris was eventually placed on the waiting list for a new heart at the tender age of 13. Without a transplant, doctors gave him only six months to live. Chris was getting weaker by the day — he was confined to a wheelchair and his skin was blue from a lack of oxygen.

And then, his family got the call — a matching heart had been found. The 10-year-old organ donor hero did what no doctor could do…. he saved Christopher’s life. A few years later, Chris honored his donor by competing in the 2002 Transplant Games. In a speech, he told the crowd: “He [the heart donor] freed me from my cell… I rose from the dead, able to rejoin humanity.”

Register to be an Organ and Tissue Donor Today!