Their hearts, livers or kidneys are failing, and close to 1,100 Nebraskans and Iowans are on waiting lists for transplants.
Last year 62 people from those two states and 6,590 nationwide died waiting.
Despite the need for organs, less than 50 percent of Americans have given their consent to take their organs if they die suddenly. Medical technology has advanced to the point where physicians and nurses routinely save many lives with donated organs, said Glenn Fosdick, chief executive officer of the Nebraska Medical Center.
"Every year we have the reunion of people who have received organ donations," Fosdick said.
"They've got their lives back. It's remarkable."
The battle now involves compelling more Americans to pledge to be organ donors.
Various groups are striving in simple and sophisticated ways to increase the numbers of people who designate on driver's licenses or sign on with state organ-donor registries.
Read more, see what is being done and how you can help: http://www.omaha.com/article/20110913/LIVEWELL01/709139935/1161