Silver State Faces Shortage of Registered Organ Donors - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Silver State Faces Shortage of Registered Organ Donors

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More than 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for an organ.

The average wait for a kidney is nearly seven years and wait time is expected to get even longer because there aren't enough registered donors.

Nobody wants to talk about death, which is one reason many people aren't organ donors.

Wendy Knorr of the California Transplant Donor Network also says there's far too many myths and misinformation out there turning people away.

"They're worried somebody won't save them if they are injured in an accident or they don't understand the process and how long it takes," said Knorr. "Once they get the facts, a lot of times, most people are more available and interested in registering."

Knorr said 40 percent of Nevada's population are donors, but that's far from enough.

She said another reason fewer people seem to be donating is because they just aren't aware of the need or don't ever think about it.

It's actually simple to do. You can register at the DMV or online.

There is no doubt about it, organ donors save lives.

I spoke with Heidi Smith for my weekend show Face the State. Smith said she received a liver transplant in 2005, after waiting more than ten years.

She said she was nearing the end when she got word they might have what she needs to survive.

"All my children were at my home for Christmas because that was going to be the last Christmas," said Smith. "When we received the phone call on Christmas, I wasn't even with it, you might say. I flew in an air ambulance up to Portland, Oregon and received the liver that saved my life."

To watch the entire interview, tune in for Face the State. The show airs Saturday at 4:30am and Sunday at 6:30am.

This weekend, Sierra Nevada Donor Awareness will hold a two mile walk to raise money for those who have been impacted by organ donation and give support to those seeking transplants.

It'll be from 7am-10am on Sunday at the Sparks Marina.

Tickets are $30 for individuals, $20 for teams of 10 or more.

Written by Chris Ciarlo 

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