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Calif. has most registered organ donors in U.S.

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SAN DIEGO – Over 12 million people in the state are now registered as organ, eye and tissue donors – making California’s registry the largest in the country, Donate Life California officials announced.

The new milestone announcement coincides with National Donate Life Month in April which highlights the need for life-saving and life-enhancing organ, eye and tissue transplants to inspire more people to become a donor hero and save lives simply by signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.

“Your registration gives hope to the more than 123,000 people who wait for the gift of life in California and across the country,” said Cindy Siljestrom, Donate Life California Board President. “Sadly, some will die waiting for an organ transplant that doesn’t come in time due to the lack of available organs. Our hope is everyone will choose to be a donor to save lives.”

Despite having the most people signed up for their registry, about 40 percent of adults in the state are signed up, putting California below the national average of 50 percent, the non-profit organization said.

In California people can sign up for the registry by checking “yes” while applying for or renewing a California driver license or ID, or going online.

Caleigh Haber of San Francisco is one of the more than 22,000 people in California waiting for the gift of life. She has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that has led to severe lung disease, which makes breathing for her very difficult. She is on the transplant waiting list for a new set of lungs. But there’s no guarantee she’ll get them.

“The average healthy person inhales about 28,800 times a day without even thinking twice or having to work at it,” said Caleigh. “For me, breathing is a luxury and a full-time job. Every day, I fight to breathe.”

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