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Rigby woman receives organ transplant, advocates for donors

Rigby woman receives organ transplant, advocates for donors

RIGBY, Idaho - April is Organ Donor Month; doctors say an average of 68 organ transplants are performed every day and if you become an organ donor, you can save up to 75 lives. 

Wife and mother of 5, Gail Brown, says had it not have been for an organ donor, she most likely wouldn't be with us today

Gail developed severe scar tissue in both of her lungs. With her lung function at only 18%, she relied heavily on oxygen tanks. 

"I know for a fact my disease was declining so fast, that I would not have been here to share this last Christmas with my family," said Brown. 

Gail got approved to be placed on the organ donor list in Salt Lake City and two weeks later, doctors found a match for Gail. She says that donation is something she's thankful for every day. 

"You can't thank them for losing a loved one, but I do thank them whole-heartedly every day for making the decision they made in what had to be the hardest time of their lives."

And Gail's children are thankful, too. Her daughter started an online blog about her mother's journey and hopes it will inspire others to think about becoming a donor. 

"To have somebody be able to give such a big thing, that's huge, to save their life," said Kim Johnson, Gail's daughter. "I don't think anybody could ever understand, unless you're in the situation."

But Gail says it's not about her story. It's about the hundreds of Idahoans waiting for donors and it's something local doctors and hospitals feel the strain of, too. 

"In Idaho, there's around 400 people waiting for an organ and around 25-30 of those are children," said Greg Trosper with Intermountain Donor Services. "So there's a huge need for it."

It's easy to become an organ donor when you renew your driver's license. 

The Department of Motor Vehicles in Idaho Falls says most people renewing their driver's license say yes to becoming an organ donor.

Almost anyone can be a donor, regardless of age or medical history. 

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