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April Is Donate Life Month. Be a Hero. Sign up to Save Lives.

April is National Donate Life Month, a time when Donate Life Month organizations highlight the need for life-saving and life-enhancing organ, eye, and tissue transplants — and that anyone can be a hero and save lives simply by signing up to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor.

That one decision could help the more than 123,000 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the United States. More than 22,000 of those people live right here in California.

People like Caleigh Haber of San Francisco. She has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that can lead to severe lung disease, which makes breathing very difficult. She is on the transplant waiting list for a new set of lungs. But there’s no guarantee she’ll get them.

Each day in the United States, 21 people die waiting because the organ they needed did not come available in time. Organs needed for transplant are heart, lungs, liver, kidney, pancreas, or intestine.

Tissue transplants, meanwhile, save and heal lives. Tissues for transplant include cornea, skin, heart valves, bone tissue, tendons, veins, ligaments, and cartilage. More than a million tissue transplants are done each year, and the surgical need for tissue has been steadily rising. Corneal transplants, meanwhile, restore sight to nearly 50,000 people each year.

Despite the vital need, only about 40 percent of adults in California are signed up to be organ, eye, and tissue donors. The facts are: 

  • People of all ages and medical histories can be donors.
  • Your medical care and/or funeral arrangements will not be affected by your decision to donate.
  • There is no cost to you or your family for donation.
  • All major religions support or permit organ donation.

Sign up to save lives by registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or check “YES!” at the DMV every time you renew your driver license or ID.

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