Living Organ Donors Help Meet Growing Need For Those On Transplant Lists

Cassandra Werner sits with her brother Steve Debakawitz, to whom she donated a kidney last year. 
90.5 WESA | Virginia Alvino

This month, Pittsburgh officials and members of the organization Donate Life are encouraging locals to consider becoming organ donors.

According to Donate Life, there are more than 8,000 people in Pennsylvania waiting to receive organ transplants. Most transplanted organs come from deceased donors, but just 46 percent of Pennsylvanians are registered eye, organ and tissue donors. While advocates are working to increase that number, they're also looking for more options to meet the demand.

For some, like Steve Debakawitz, that’s a living donor.

"It was a birth defect," said Debakawitz. "They were very small."

That’s what doctors told Debkawitz about his kidneys while in the hospital after an accident 10 years ago. It was discovered his kidneys weren’t functioning at full capacity. Continue reading
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