(Birmingham, AL) WIAT- About 107,000 people in America are waiting for a transplant, according to Ann Rayburn with the Alabama Organ Center.
We have about 3600 people that are waiting for an organ transplant in the state of Alabama. And that may not sound like a lot of people, but we only have about 120 to 130 organ donors every year," said Rayburn.
Part of their mission is to educate people about becoming donors and to dispel myths about the process.
"People are nervous about putting organ donor on their driver's license. I hear it a lot. I'm not going to get good medical care because I put organ donor on my license and that strictly is not true. You know the health care provider's first priority is to save the individual's life and only when those efforts are not successful do we get called."
"There are people who don't get transplanted in time and they die on the waiting list," said Rayburn. "And quite often these are people who if you could replace that one organ that's sick then they could have a full life ahead of them."
Kayreita Gittens is hoping and praying for a kidney transplant. "I have just been put on the urgent list for one," said Gittens.
She has renal disease and must regularly go to dialysis. Gittens says it takes a lot of time and energy and it can be dangerous
"Your blood can get infected on the machine. That's very dangerous. Now I've got a story I've got to tell you. Two and a half years ago, I stopped breathing on dialysis," said Gittens. "And there's only two options you either dialyze or you get a kidney. There's no in between line there."
"In fact, I had a brother who died from kidney disease. He was on dialysis and he got tired of going. And he stopped going for two weeks and he was gone," said Gittens.
She feels blessed to be a candidate for a transplant that could change everything for her family. "It will mean that I can go back to a normal life and we can do some of the things that we wanted to do together," said Gittens.
You can choose to be an organ donor when you apply for or renew your driver's license or state issued ID, but Ann Rayburn says it's important to make your wishes clear to your loved ones.
Learn more about the process at www.alabamaorgancenter.org or http://unos.org/.