Every 12 minutes a new name is added to the national transplant waiting list. An average of 18 people will die before organs are available to save them.
"In fact, within a year, 10,000 of the people that are on the list today simply will not be here because of the lack of an organ," said Ron Walterman, a family care specialist with the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.
"In the United States there are 105,000 people waiting for an organ in which 89,000 of them are waiting for a kidney," Walterman said,
Angela Gamber of Collinsville knows all too well the importance of organ and tissue donations.
"I got sick. I was hours within death. I was hours from dying had I not had my transplant," said Gamber, who received a new liver in time, six months ago.
"I was in nursing school. I was doing my thing, a mom, wife, working. And I had some health problems and ended up at UAB, and within two weeks I was having a transplant."
Although people are being encouraged to donate, they are also being warned to beware of myths.
In fact, even when I registered to be a donor, some relatives said I shouldn't because that could encourage medical personnel not to provide me all the care needed in an emergency situation, so that my organs could go to someone in need. Donation officials say this is nit true.
"Doctors do not want people to die because that's a sign of failure and they want you to be able to successfully walk out the door of that hospital," said Walterman. "So, they're not going to sit back and do nothing. They will do the best they can to keep you alive."
To become a donor you may register when you renew your drivers license or by just going to donatelifems.org.