What to know about organ donation, Donate Life Month

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — The month of April is Donate Life Month, a time that brings awareness to organ donation.

Dr. Kelly Berwager is a professor at Troy University. She is also a living organ donor who is working to raise awareness about organ donation.

“There are so many people waiting for an organ donation,” Berweger said. “My recipient had to be a living organ donor, so they couldn’t wait for a deceased donor to come along.”

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 17 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant. There  are currently over 100,000 people on the transplant waiting list.

“I became an advocate for the cause when I found out that there’s such a large percentage still waiting on organ donation,” Berwager explained. “A lot of people die every year, not able to get an organ from a living or deceased donor.”

Berwager says she never expected to become a living organ donor, but is glad she did. She now hopes to raise awareness for the cause.

“It’s important not only to get people registered to one day donate, but to also bring awareness to what the shortage is of organ donation across the country,” Berwager continued. “There’s a bigger need that you might not realize if you’re just checking the box on your driver’s license.”

For those who want to become organ donors, there are several resources that are available.

“Legacy of Hope has a national registry and an affiliation here in Alabama that people can contact,” Berwager said.

Studies show 46,000 Americans were saved by organ transplants in 2023. Researchers say one organ donor can save up to 8 lives.

More information about organ donation can be found on Legacy of Hope’s website.