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The following content is created in consultation with Donate Life Pennsylvania. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Philadelphia's editorial staff. To learn more about Donate Life Pennsylvania, visit donatelifepa.org.

Did you know that there are currently over 123,000 American men, women and children in need of a life-saving organ transplant? Of those waiting, 21 will die each day because a donor wasn’t found in time.

The problem exists right here in Pennsylvania, too. More than 8,500 residents await an organ transplant, while thousands more require tissue transplants capable of greatly enhancing their lives.

Fortunately, there is a way to combat these grim statistics and it will only take 30 seconds of your time. By signing up to be an organ and tissue donor today (no, you don’t have to wait to renew your driver’s license), you may save up to eight lives and heal more than 50 people. From patients awaiting heart, liver, lung or pancreas transplants to burn victims in need of tissue transplants, you’ll be giving people a second chance on life.

And it all comes at no extra cost to you. Despite common misconceptions, medical staff will work their hardest to save your life in an event of an accident regardless of your donation status. Your age won’t effect your ability to donate either, and—chances are—your religion won’t frown upon it.

There are currently 4.5 million registered organ and tissue donors in Pennsylvania, but that only accounts for half of those eligible to participate. By registering now and helping spread the word, you’ll be doing your part to provide hope to others in need.

People like seven year old Tony Forte of Lancaster. Born with an intestinal disease, Tony is forced to wear a backpack with a feeding tube implanted into his chest. He’s never eaten like a healthy kid and has never seen the inside of a classroom. But with a stomach, intestine and liver transplant, Tony can lead a full, healthy life.

Or Antonela Kasic, who relocated from Croatia to Pittsburgh. This 15 year old high school cheerleader had her small intestine removed as a child and has spent most of her youth moving around the world in search of the organs she needs. Her family settled on Pittsburgh to be near its hospital and await their daughter’s once in a lifetime shot.

“To me, organ donation means you could save somebody’s life,” says Antonela. “Maybe my life, or somebody you care about — it could be your daughter, mom, dad, sister or friend. There are a lot of people on the list who are waiting like me.”

So take the 30 seconds to register as an organ and tissue donor and help transform peoples’ lives. Register now.
 

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