Md. Nonprofit Encourages People To Donate Organs & Save Lives

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BALTIMORE  (WJZ) — People around the country, including those in Maryland, are waiting for transplants.

Kai Jackson reports a local group is rallying to help those in need by giving them the gift of life.

Mondawmin Mall is the setting for a new life-saving effort.

The group Donate Life Maryland is trying to encourage more people to become organ donors.

Valarie Murray knows just how important organ donors are to people around the country.

“Just to give a mother a chance to see her baby grow; a father a chance to walk his child down the aisle; a person another day to take a deep breath with a lung transplant. It’s important as a community,” she said.

Murray, who’s a registered nurse by profession, says for years she was obese. In 2004, a decision to have weight loss surgery revealed liver damage and the need for a transplant. In 2009, she got a transplant.

“My donor, he signed up at the MVA when he renewed his license. I don’t know who he is, I don’t know much about his life. But I know what he has done for me, I’m going to do for somebody else,” said Murray.

Nationwide, more than 112,000 people need transplants. Of that number, 2,000 Marylanders need them.

Recipients need organ, eye and tissue transplants. It affects men, women and children.

“This is our way in Maryland of celebrating National Donate Life Month, which is the month of April,” said Natalie Benavides, Donate Life Maryland Exec. Director.

“I believe that Jesus died for me so why should I not want to be like him and give life,” said Murray.

Doctors say up to eight lives can be saved through organ donation. Another 50 lives may be improved through tissue donation.

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