Friday, April 30, 2010



After months of filming on location throughout Japan, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area, we are proud to present the first comprehensive window into “The Power Of Two” film. Until now our youtube clips have been met with very warm reception, however we believe this trailer is the key to spreading our message to a global audience. Director/Producer Marc Smolowitz is extremely happy with the trailer’s outcome: “This sets the direction for what the film is going to be. As we are 50% done, it’s an important opportunity to show what I’m doing storytelling wise, and how organ donation impacts both American and Japanese cultures through Ana and Isa’s eyes.” He added, “The trailer is a momentous turning point in my process creatively. I am proud to have this vehicle to present to people who want to support us and get involved.”

The Power Of Two 5

“The Power Of Two” trailer relays the large scope of our project while emphasizing two major themes: raising awareness about organ donation and transplantation across all cultures, and celebrating the miracle in every breath- especially for those fighting Cystic Fibrosis. However the Stenzel twins’ story also speaks to those closed to the idea of organ donation. As Ana makes clear in the above video, her driving motivation is to spread a sense of being truly alive and gratefully so.

The Power Of Two 3

April is almost over and that means it’s time to count the successes of Donate Life Month. May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and with it comes plenty of shoot dates, including the San Francisco portion of Great Strideshosted by Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The same weekend we will head to Santa Cruz for The Relayby Organs ‘R’ Us to promote organ donation. It will be amazing to film both events back to back as each is powerful in its own right and highly relevant to our film. Help spread the word by sharing the film trailer above- we look forward to sharing further developments leading up to “The Power Of Two” release in early 2011.


Source: Donate Life Today

This year’s theme is the Power of One, but my story is actually about the Power of TWO.

Lorissa’s dad, Philip, was killed in an ATV accident Labor Day weekend 2008. He was a cornea and tissue donor. At Kootenai Medical Center, Lorissa was exposed to donation, and decided to register her intention to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor as well.

Tragically, Lorissa lost her life in a car accident January 17, 2009.

Lorissa was sixteen, focused on school, boys, friendships, shopping, and taking pictures. She loved to be the center of attention: never leaving the house without her hair and makeup done. Lorissa loved dancing and singing, the color hot pink, and as the fourth oldest of ten children, she loved her family. A remarkable student, Lorissa worked after school as a childcare assistant, connecting best with the kids that seemed to have the most difficult time.

I miss her uncontrollably—her crooked smile, the peace sign she flashed so lovingly, stroking her hair as we watched TV together.

Knowing the kindness of her heart and her interest in helping others made my decision easier when LifeCenter approached me about donation for Lorissa. I had to make many decisions at the hospital, and I wanted to honor my daughter’s wishes.

Little did I know the impact Lorissa’s death would make on the world. A 57 year old woman has Lorissa’s lungs. An 18 year old girl has her heart. A 21 year old is caring for Lorissa’s liver. One of those recipients told me that they would not have survived another 4 months without the transplant. Lorissa also helped to enhance the lives of several people through tissue and cornea donation. I had the opportunity to meet one of Lorissa’s cornea recipients, a 21 year old man who now has the ability to see the color pink!

I know Lorissa’s nurses and doctors at Sacred Heart Medical Center did everything they could to save her life. The physician never left her room. Nurses cried with us and encouraged us to bring mementos to fill her hospital room. An ICU nurse took my other teenage children to the flight deck one night to see the city lights. That moment of compassion meant so much to my family. In the end, Lorissa’s injuries were too devastating and she didn’t survive. But Lorissa lives on and I am so thankful for everyone who made that possible. The compassion and care my family received, most especially Lorissa, has been a blessing. I am grateful for all I have experienced and appreciate every day the decision that my daughter made to leave a living legacy. What a beatiful final gift to leave behind: LIFE.


Source: Yes Utah Blog

The Days of April

April, National Donate Life Month, is almost over. Throughout the month, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of incredible people and attend some very touching events. Mike and Catherine

Two of the people I had the pleasure of meeting were Mike Parke, Funeral Director at the Parke’s Magic Valley Funeral Home, and his wife Catherine. Mike had a liver transplant in 2008 and says he feels better than he has in 20 years! He expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support he received from people in his community prior to and following his transplant. He is now a strong advocate for donation and is looking for ways to make a difference in his community and throughout Idaho.

I attended a community event at Ogden Regional Hospital where Dr. Wahlstrom and his son Andy spoke about the impact organ donation has played in their lives. Andy received a kidney from his younger sister, Mallory, several months ago. Dr. Wahlstrom shared what is was like as a father to watch as two of his children were wheeled in to surgery. Both Andy and Mallory, who is the current Miss Kaysville-Fruit Heights, are doing well.

The Wahlstroms were followed by Paul Cardall, concert pianist and heart recipient. Paul told a little about his heart condition and the disappointments and tragedies his family has faced in the last year. He has gained a new perspectiveflag raisingthat has increased his great gratitude toward his donor and their family. He then played a song he wrote for a baby he met at Primary Children’s Hospital, “Gracie’s Song.” This beautiful song set the mood for the raising of the Donate Life flag which took place immediately following the speakers.

I also continued to see the need. I interviewed a teenager on dialysis, met a toddler who needs an intestinal transplant, and spent some time with a woman who needs a new heart. I hope next April finds these people doing well and ready to celebrate with us. If you haven’t registered as an organ, eye, and tissue donor, it’s as easy as logging onto and clicking on the big, yellow “Register Now” button.


Source: KSTC Channel 45


Recipient, doctor explain rewards of organ donation

April is national donate life month. As part of that effort, there's a movement to get the public registered to become an organ donor.


A Celebration of Women


Michigan, U.S.A


If anyone reading this needs a kidney transplant, knows someone that might; hopefully the above will be useful information. Furthermore, if anyone reading this page has ever thought of becoming a DONOR, register below, or at your local agency.






one story of a truly Life Donating pastor…..

16 year old Raegan Pratt and her kidney donor, Tony Huy.

Raegan became ill about a year ago. Her kidneys have failed, she’s on dialysis three times a week and in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Tony Huy, youth pastor and homeschool father of 4 young children, is donating one of his kidneys to Raegan.



Source: KTVO 3, Heartland Connection


It was a beautiful afternoon to celebrate life in Kirksville Wednesday.

Northeast Regional Medical Center and A.T. Still University held a celebration in honor of National Donate Life Month.

“There's over 100,000 people on the waiting list in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ. Everyday 17-20 of those people die waiting for an organ, so it's important that we raise the awareness,” said Cheryl Tuggle, Midwest Transplant Network.

Testimonials were given by both organ donors and recipient families. The ceremony concluded with a balloon release and reception.


April 29, 2010 (FPRC) -- ALIVE 2010, a benefit for the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, is being held on May 7 at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. The night will be filled with fun and friends; fabulous food and drink; live music by Lyin’ Dogs; auction and celebration as attendees work towards inspiring all in Michigan to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Park West Gallery is the print sponsor of the event, providing all of the invitations, RSVP cards, envelopes, programs, and signs. Two artworks have also been donated by Park West Gallery and will be included in the Silent Auction.

Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione and his wife Mitsie Scaglione will be honored at ALIVE 2010 during an award ceremony for their continued support of the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan. The Scagliones will receive the Visionary Award; L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive, will receive the Crusader Award; and Patricia Montemurri, Detroit Free Press Reporter, and Glenda Lewis, WXYZ TV 7 News Reporter, will receive awards for Outstanding Media.

Tickets are $75 per person, and $125 for two (valet parking included); discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For tickets, please call Peggy Burkhard at (248) 770-5172. For more information on ALIVE 2010 and the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, please visit

About the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan
The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan was formed in 1993 to promote organ and tissue donation. Its goal is to encourage Michigan residents to accept organ and tissue donation as a fundamental human responsibility. It seeks to accomplish this primarily through public education, legislative and professional education endeavors. The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan is modeled after Donate Life America, which among other things, creates and distributes national advertising campaigns and various awareness efforts such as National Organ and Tissue Donation week. The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan is hard at work in 2010 helping Gift of Life Michigan gain one million new registrants through its Donor Drive 2010. For more information, call 800-482-4881 or visit

About Park West Gallery
Founded in 1969, Park West is one of the largest art dealers in the world, selling works of art through its galleries in Michigan and Florida, at art auction events across the country, and on cruise ships internationally. The Park West Gallery collection includes oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors and drawings, hand-signed limited edition etchings, lithographs, serigraphs and hand-embellished graphic works. Park West Gallery also offers an extensive selection of sports memorabilia - autographed by celebrity athletes and a unique collection of rare animation art. Park West Gallery occupies a 63,000 square foot headquarters and gallery in Southfield, Michigan and an 181,000 square foot fulfillment center and gallery in Miami Lakes, Florida.


By: Jennifer Koski, Post Bulletin
Want to know more?

For more information on signing up for organ donation, go to or call 1-888-5DONATE

Just down the street from my house, there's a little boy named Bode. Like a lot of 3-year-olds, Bode likes to play in his front yard and wave to the neighbors. He likes to laugh with his friends at preschool, cuddle the family's black lab and read books with his mom and dad. He likes grapes, strawberries and cheese popcorn.

And he's the recipient of a heart transplant.

Four years ago, when Luke and Jessie Brown found out that Bode was going to be their son through the gift of adoption, they also found out that their unborn child had a heart condition.

"His aorta was too tight," Luke says as Bode cozies up next to him on the couch in their house. "We knew that once he was born, he'd need a procedure to open it — but his doctors hoped it wouldn't be a major condition."

The day Bode was born, Luke and Jessie were able to see their son within 10 minutes. "He looked like this perfect, pink little boy," Luke said. "Even the cardiologist said, 'Maybe I made a mistake.'"

But just when they thought their son's condition might not be as bad as they expected, they learned it was worse. Because Bode's aorta was so small, the left side of his heart had grown too large and couldn't effectively pump the blood he needed.

Bode was flown to the NICU at Saint Marys and put on the heart transplant list. "He was listed as a 'status 1A,'" says Luke, "which means that he needed a heart 'now'."

Organ transplantation wasn't a new concept for the family. Luke, who works as a paramedic with Gold Cross, had transported organs before. In fact, he was once part of a crew transporting an infant heart.

However, that didn't make the emotional toll any easier. While Bode was on the wait list, Jessie and Luke had to grapple with complicated feelings.

"It was really hard for us," Luke says. "Twenty-four hours a day, we were waiting for that call — but at the same time, we felt terrible that another child was going to have to die for Bode to get a heart. We had to come to terms with that — that someone would have to make this incredible gift."

Bode was nearly 6 weeks old when the call came. It was 3:30 in the morning, and Luke and Jessie were sleeping.

"The phone rings, and we fumble around, trying to answer our cell phones, pager, home phone — all those things we kept around us just in case," Luke says. "And then we miss the call! Two seconds later, the hospital calls back. They'd found a heart for Bode."

The couple immediately went to the hospital to see their son and then settled in for the nearly eight-hour procedure. It wasn't long before one of Luke's co-workers called from Gold Cross. "I've got a cooler with your name on it," he said.

Six weeks later, Bode Brown and his new heart went home. In the three years since, he's had his ups and downs. He's suffered a leak in his lung and has contracted a form of cancer that's common among transplant patients.

For the rest of his life, Bode will take anti-rejection drugs that weaken his immune system and make him more susceptible to complications from simple illnesses. The anti-rejection meds are hard on his kidneys.

"There may be a time in the future when a kidney transplant may be necessary—or a new heart," says Luke. "We don't know."

But one look at this little boy and it's clear that he's a living miracle: A happy and healthy child with parents (and one sloppy kisser of a black lab) who are crazy about him.

The experience has made the couple passionate about organ donation.

"Have the conversation," says Luke. "Talk to your family — not only your spouse but your kids, too. It's so important."

After Bode's transplant, Jessie and Luke wrote a thank-you letter to the donor's family. "We don't know who donated the heart, but we know it was a little girl," Luke says. "In our letter, we thanked them. We explained why our son needed his heart. And we told them that through their gift, their daughter is living on. She's living on in Bode."

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Two 7th grade students from St. Jerome Regional School in Tamaqua won Honorable Mention awards for participating in the Lehigh Valley Coalition for Organ and Tissue Donation Poster contest. Awards were presented to Joseph Damiano (left) and Emily Pilla at a ceremony on Thursday, April 15 at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem. The contest is sponsored by the coalition as a way of increasing awareness of the need for organ and tissue donations.


Organ Donation Program Given Medal Of Honor


Local and federal officials are saluting St. Luke's Hospital for its work with organ donations.

This morning, the Gift of Life Donor Program and the federal government honored the hospital with the Medal of Honor award.

Gift of Life officials said St. Luke's had a 75% donor rate last year.

That puts it in the top 3% of hospitals nationwide.

"One person can save the lives of up to 50 people with organ and tissue transplants," said Howard M. Nathan, president and CEO of Gift of Life. "So that's why it's so important that when families say 'yes' to donation, they really do save lives."

St. Luke's is no stranger to the Medal of Honor award. The hospital has received it every year since it was first handed out in 2005.


Gift of Life: Part Four

By Ron Maloney

The Gazette-Enterprise

Published April 29, 2010

Cliff Letbetter loves to ride horses, hunt and work in the garden.

He used to drink his coffee black, but now likes it with cream and sugar. He never liked Spam, but now eats it like a champ. He has a relationship with the Lord that has contributed to renewing his marriage vows and to being re-baptized. And while he was never a beer fan, every once in a while, he cracks open a Bud Light and thinks of another Bud drinker he never knew. Soon, Letbetter wants to get a tattoo of a cobra on his chest in honor of a man called “Snake” who he never met, but to whom he owes everything. The tattoo would go across a large scar. Behind the scar beats “Snake’s” heart, and in a couple weeks, Letbetter marks four years with it.

“I owe him at least that much,” Letbetter said. More importantly, he owes the man’s wife. “Snake,” whose given name was Dan, suffered a fatal aneurism. His wife, Vivian, decided to donate her husband’s organs to save others, and Letbetter was one of them.

And the experience of needing and then getting a life-saving heart has made Letbetter and his wife, Marcy, true believers in organ donation, and they do what they can to spread the word. The Letbetters have T-shirts reminding people they can’t take their organs with them and should consider donating them instead.

They go on walks to promote organ donation, and they go to hospitals to counsel people on the subject. “We just did a walk in Del Rio,” Letbetter said. “I was very impressed by what I saw.” Letbetter wants to meet Guadalupe County residents who have a connection to organ donation, either as recipients like himself or as donors or surviving members of donor families, and he’s contacted the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance and would like to create a group and a walk here.

Wednesday afternoon, the Letbetters received a visit from TOSA that could help make that happen. Esmeralda “Mela” Perez, TOSA manager of communications and community development, wants to do the same thing. “Mr. Letbetter and a couple of people in that area have talked about it, and I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Perez said. “We’d like to start a “Friends For Life-Seguin.”

A walk supporting organ donation would be a great grassroots effort to raise awareness in the Guadalupe County community, Perez said. “We can start small and build on it,” she said. That’s fine with Letbetter, who knows there are plenty of people around the region whose lives have been touched in one way or another by an organ transplant, but has been able to meet with few of them. He knows they’re out there, just as he is. But medical confidentiality laws protect their identities. Letbetter wonders whether that isolates them as well.

“Nobody can give us information about who has received organs around here,” Letbetter said. “There’s nothing out there I’ve seen in this county saying, ‘You need to think about donating organs.’ We’re trying to get people who have had transplants or who need transplants together and get the word out that there’s a need for donors. We’d like to get the word out. I have a sister on dialysis three times a week because she needs a kidney. We’re out here.”

The Letbetters, small businesspeople and ranchers who live just south of town, want to take part, but will look to TOSA, one of 58 government-designated organ procurement agencies around the United States.

TOSA is called in whenever a potential donor — someone who has been declared brain-dead and is on life-support at a south or central Texas hospital — is available. TOSA sends organ recovery coordinators to the hospital to meet with medical staff, the family of the deceased and to try, if feasible, to arrange for harvesting of the organs. “We let the family decide what they want to do,” Perez said. The rest of the time, TOSA tries to educate the community on the importance of donating organs and tissues for transplant — an effort the agency is now trying to expand in Guadalupe County.

A long road. Letbetter was ill for years, became disabled and fully expected to die before a matching donor heart became available. His cardiologist was blunt. “He said, you either do things my way, or you’re going to die,” Letbetter recalled. He gave up his job and went under treatment, but ultimately it didn’t help past prolonging his life. His heart could not be rehabilitated. His own damaged organ was removed and was replaced by an artificial heart in the weeks leading up to his transplant because it just couldn’t do the job anymore. “I’ve had three hearts,” he said. “The one I was born with, an artificial heart and the one I have now.” It was not an easy path, and with a smile, a twinkle in his eye and his wife sitting there to keep him honest, Letbetter acknowledged he probably wasn’t always the best patient on the planet.

“My whole deal was, if I died on horseback or died in a deer blind, I was fine with that,” Letbetter said.

transplant is a tricky deal, and there are long waiting lists for organs. Most people die while on the waiting list. At points, there were questions about whether Letbetter was emotionally suited to having a heart transplant — whether he would value his own life enough to follow up on a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs and treatment. He saw a psychiatrist a few times, just to make sure. “He said, ‘I don’t know why I’m seeing you,’” Letbetter recalled, laughing. “‘You’re crazy enough to go through with this.’”

On the day he learned a heart was available and the operation was really going to happen, he had to be talked out of a hospital restroom where he’d barricaded himself because he just couldn’t deal with it anymore. That’s where a strong wife comes in, and Marcy Letbetter was up to the job. It hit him again when he was being wheeled into the operating room and a nurse told him to say goodbye to his wife. He asked them to wheel him in quickly and get the job done so he didn’t have to think about the operation and whether he would make it. “I was going to die in there,” Letbetter said. “The question was, would I come back?”

The operation itself went smoothly and the recovery was going nicely, Letbetter said, but he suffered a setback about a month after the operation. The Letbetters raise dogs and horses, and they have a kennel, a little barn and stable on their place. Taking advantage of energy he hadn’t felt in years, he was in the barn, working with a horse when it kicked him — square in the chest. The impact opened up four inches of his chest and bled quite a bit. Letbetter and his wife applied direct pressure to the wound as well as material to soak up the blood and went to the hospital to get a chest X-ray, make sure nothing had come disconnected, and get sewn or taped back up. His surgeon had strong words about the incident — the most polite of which was “idiot.”

Letbetter knew as soon as he realized he was alive that he wanted to contact the family who donated his heart and say thank you. They wrote a letter through the agencies that arranged the transplant. It took more than a year for it to wind its way through a system designed to protect donor and recipient. “It’s a different feeling,” he said. “I decided I’ve got to meet my donor’s wife and family.”

When “Snake” died, his wife decided to tell the doctors to donate anything they could. The Letbetters wanted to make sure she knew they appreciated it. “I was alive because of them, and we wanted to thank them and let them know we think quite a bit of what they’ve done for us,” Letbetter said. Vivian called him — and it just happened to be on his birthday a couple years ago. “My wife asked who it was, and I said, ‘The Lady,’” he recalled. Marcy knew exactly who he meant, because they’d spoken of her a lot before they knew her name, and that’s what they’d come to call her.

She took the grandkids out to the garage to roast marshmallows in the rain so Grandpa could talk to his benefactor, and they stayed on the phone for two and a half hours. It was painful when Letbetter learned no one else had tried to contact the woman who made it all possible to thank her. “A number of people received parts from this man — his heart, his liver, his kidneys, his lungs — and I was the only one who’d contacted her.”

A few months later, they all agreed to meet at a restaurant near Waco — the Ledbetters and Vivian and her family. It was a tough meeting, but a good one. There was a lot of crying. “She was hurt so bad by her loss,” Letbetter said. Over the intervening two years, the Letbetters have built a relationship with their extended family, and they talk with Vivian every couple of weeks or so. “We’re on speed dial,” he said. “I’ve told her call whenever she wants — especially if she’s crying.” When Letbetter was re-baptized recently, Vivian attended.

Letbetter scoffs when he hears there’s no scientific basis for the idea that organ recipients sometimes take on the traits of their donors. “I’ve never drank cream or sugar in my coffee,” he said. The day after his surgery, his coffee didn’t taste right. They added cream and sugar, and it was fine, and that’s the way he’s drank it ever since — just like Snake did. It was the same with an unlikely luncheon meat Letbetter was never fond of — Spam — and the same with Bud Light, although Letbetter was never a beer drinker until after his transplant. “They tell me it’s not true, but I don’t believe it,” he said.

What he does believe is his life has not only been saved, but it’s been enriched as well by a man he never met and by his surviving family.


Source: Huffington Post

Cari Shane Parven

Cari Shane Parven

Posted: April 29, 2010 03:09 PM

Six years ago this month, Lisa Peabody's fourth child, her toddler, passed away. She was only 15-months-old. 63 days earlier, at the age of 13 months, Caroline was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Caroline passed out of the Peabody's lives but then, almost miraculously, into the lives of strangers.

"Every day while I sat there with her, hoping and hoping and hoping," says Lisa Peabody, of Bethesda, Maryland, recalling her days in the ICU with her rosy-cheeked, blonde and blue-eyed baby, "everyday the bells would ring and the beepers would go off and the nurses and doctors would shoo me out ... I learned every day that so many of these children were losing a life because they needed an organ, they needed a kidney, they needed a liver, they needed a heart. And I just couldn't believe that people weren't giving. Why weren't people helping while I was watching these babies die?" Peabody says, incredulous, wiping tears from her eyes.

Even as their own child died, it ultimately wasn't a hard decision for Lisa and her husband, Chris, as they began to discuss organ donation.

"Can't we do something good ... can't we help someone?" they asked each other. "We can't be helped," Peabody remembers telling her husband, [but] she has a whole body filled with working pieces."

A tiny little hero, standing no more than two-and-a-half feet tall, Caroline saved many lives. By donating her pulmonary arties, she saved the life of a child in grave need of a transplant. Caroline's heart values, too, saved the life of yet another child. And, still Caroline gave the gift of sight to two more people by donating her corneas. "And I'm very proud to say we helped some other families out there, very proud,"Peabody concludes on a video she made and uploaded to YouTube as part of a donor organ awareness campaign produced by the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC). Each day in April,Organ Donation Awareness Month (designated in 2003), 30 Days, 30 Stories, features the emotional story of donor families, recipients and even those who lost loved ones because there was no donation.

DeShawn McMillan of Fort Washington, Maryland lost her mother because some one failed to donate a liver. "If you think about how many people there are in the world ... [yet] we have so many people that are on a waiting list and I think if you just make a conscious decision of signing up to be an organ donor, we can all give something to each other."


18 people die every day, due to the lack of organs available for transplant.

Every 11 minutes, a new name is added to the national list.

The average wait for a kidney transplant is 5 years.2010-04-29-images.jpeg

"Being an organ donor doesn't cost money, doesn't cost time, doesn't take practice, all the excuses and challenges that we always associate with things," says Kati Penney of Bethesda, Maryland whose daughter Katrina, now in first grade, received a heart donation at the age of 9 months. "Organ donation [is] really just making a decision."

While WRTC's 30 Days, 30 Stories campaign is a DC Metro Area (Maryland, Virginia, DC) project, the power of the world wide web has taken this small but emotional project nationwide, even international, because of the powerful on-line site, YouTube.

Organ donation is a relatively new phenomenon. The first successful transplant was a kidney transplant from a live donor performed in 1954. But according to John Ogden, Senior Public Affairs Associate for WRTC, the first donation by a deceased person was performed in 1962, also a kidney transplant. It would be 10 years before the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act established the donor card which no longer exists, though undoubtedly there are those with that card still in their wallets.

By the late 70s, state-run organ donation programs began cultivating relationships with their individual state motor vehicles departments. Currently, every state in the country but Vermont, has a relationship with their DMV which will automatically ask every registering motorist if s/he will register as an organ donator.

Within the past four years, state donation organizations have begun working together, and the efforts have paid off according to Ogden. There is a now a national on-line registry, with links to each individual state-run donor organization in all 50 states.

The new, group-effort is paying off. Currently, 86.3-million people are registered donors in the United States, that's 37.1-percent of all U.S. residents over the age of 18, a 24.4-percent increase since 2007, with an 8-percent-plus increase between 2008 and 2009 alone. In the past three years, Donate Life Americasays there have been 82-thousand organ transplants, approximately 120-thousand cornea transplants and millions of tissue transplants.

"Briana is ... is the unsung hero who gave Katrina her heart," says Penney who after the transplant sent bi-yearly photos of her own daughter to Briana's mother. Finally, "we received a letter from [Briana's] mother who talked to us about how it has taken her a bit of time to heal. But each year as she receives the cards and letters from us and looks through Katrina's pictures, it makes it a little easier to know that there's another little girl who is out there and is blessed because of Briana."

Kat Clifford of Herndon, Virginia lost her daughter Kylie only three months after Kylie's birth. Her decision to donate her daughter's organs "took probably three minutes. Kylie was gone we couldn't get her back but could we give someone else something? Yes," says Clifford on her WRTC produced, YouTube video.

"In such a time of tragedy and loss looking back [donor families are] able to see the donation as some sort of silver lining," says Ogden. "Nothing is ever going to bring your loved one back, but to know that there are people out there living and breathing today literally because of your loved one. That is an experience that very few people actually have but organ and tissue donor family members."

"Every recipient will tell you the call is an incredible moment in their lives that they will never forget, saysKathryn Turner of Bethesda, Maryland who is alive today because of a much needed liver transplant. "It was a moment of terror, joy and deep sadness because I knew that someone had lost someone they dearly loved... This made me a tremendously kinder, gentler patient person and I look for ways to do something to help someone else. I write my donor family several times a year, just to let them know how much I appreciate this gift, how much I care about them, how much I respect and love their loved one and how I try to keep my body healthy to preserve what has been given to me," says Turner on day 28 of the 30 Days, 30 Stories video.

"I feel as if the gift of life I've been given by this young lady, I was given for a reason," says James Selby of Capitol Heights, Maryland who received a heart and kidney from a 17-year-old victim of a motorcycle accident. He believes he was given the gift of life "so that I could live on and ... be productive for the both of us."

Facts, right and wrong:
• A majority of U.S. adults now wish to be organ or tissue donors: 56% up from 50% a year ago.
• 75% of those surveyed want their donation wishes fulfilled regardless of family desires.
• 52% of people incorrectly believe that doctors may not try as hard to save their lives if they know they are registered organ or tissue donors.
• 19% of people are not sure they would be acceptable donors.
• 48% of people incorrectly believe a black market exists in the U.S. for organs and tissue, up from 44% in 2009.
• 16% of people incorrectly believe a regular funeral is not possible following donation, this percentage is up from 13% in 2004.
• 61% mistakenly believe it is possible for a brain dead person to recover from his or her injuries.