For two of those people, the wait is over and their young donor is their hero.
This week, two and a half year old Keegan Johnson of Fridley and 30 year old Meleah Richter of Northfield met the family of Andrea Cleveland for the first time.
16 year old Cleveland died after a car accident this past November south of Platte, South Dakota.
"Of course you can tell that she was a very caring person by her being a donator. It was her idea, it was her choice," said Marlene Cleveland, Andrea's mother.
Andrea donated her organs, eyes and other tissues. Johnson received her liver, Richter received her lungs.
"For me it's definitely a second chance at life, and if it's a couple years after, or 20 years after, it's like, just being able to breathe has been amazing," Richter said.