ST. CLOUD --April is Donate Life Month and local health officials are hoping to spark the conversation about donation and transplantation.

Recent studies have shown roughly 22 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant.

Kelen Sohre is a Registered Nurse at the St. Cloud Hospital. She says the lack of education about organ donations is one of the biggest barriers surrounding people from becoming an organ donor.

Some misconceptions I've heard is you may receive less treatment at the end of your life if you're a donor. Others have the misconception that you would be cut to pieces at the time of donation but that's not the case.

Sohre says you don't have to die to be an organ donor, living donors are also vital to saving lives.

Marianne Steichen is a CentraCare employee and has been on a waiting list for a kidney transplant since 2018. At that time she had 20% kidney function and today it is down to 8%. She says it's been an emotional journey.

So far I haven't had much luck as there isn't much out there. It does take about five years to get a deceased kidney donor.

Steichen says while some days are harder than others, it's the support from her family that gives her the motivation to keep fighting.

Sohre says research has show one organ donor can save up to 75 lives through organ, eye and tissue donations.

It truly is a gift that you are giving to another person or family through organ donation.

Sohre says the easiest way to become an organ donor is by registering online, or by checking the box on your driver's license.


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