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More than 88,000 people are waiting for the gift of life; each day, about 74 people receive an organ transplant. However, 17 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs. You and your family can help: discuss the potential of becoming an organ donor. In the case that tragedy should strike, your or your loved ones' organs could be the salvation for another in need. While it may be unpleasant to think about, organ donation is a lasting way to make a difference and to truly give the gift of life.
Once you decide to become an organ donor, be sure to make your wishes known about organ and tissue donation to your family so that your will can be done. It is also important to note that living donation is also a possibility. According to a recent national survey by the National Kidney Foundation, one in four Americans say they would consider donating a kidney to a stranger. Kidneys are the most common organ donated by living donors. Other organs that can be donated by living donors include parts of the liver, lungs and pancreas.
*There are many benefits to living donation, but there are also risks to the donor. Visit www.organdonor.gov, a site set up by the US Department of Health and Human Services, for more information on both traditional and living organ donation.