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 an RN at St. Cloud Hospital says the lack of education about organ donations leads to a lot of misconceptions:

“That you may receive different treatment and the end of your life. They may get less treatment if you are a donor. Others may have the misconception that at the time of organ donation you may be cut to pieces….really — 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, because there is a lot out there. It typically does take approximately 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. According to the website LifeSource, one organ donor can save up to 75 lives through organ, eye, and tissue donations.