Students learning about organ donation

Foundation helping students to realize importance of donating

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three people die every day across the US waiting for an organ that could have saved their lives.

Organ donation can sometimes be a touchy subject but a campaign to educate teenagers about the benefits is underway at area high schools.

Students at Bishop Kenny High School are learning about organ donations and encouraging others to take part in a fundraiser called Katie's Ride for Life.

"At first when I heard it, I wasn't quite sure what I thought about it," student Maggie Magurie said.

Magurie reacted like most teenagers do the first time they hear about organ donations. Far too often teens don't realize that several peoples lives can be saved with their sacrifice.

"When the Katie Caples Foundation comes here and talks to sophomores, I think it really makes them aware about what exactly their going to sign up for and how it really affects other people if you say you are an organ donor and how it saves lives," Magurie said.

Magurie is talking about Katie's Ride for Life. Katie was 16-years-old when she was killed in a crash. Her father founded Katie's Bicycle Ride Walk after his daughter donated several of her organs, saving nine peoples lives.

Dr. Darrin Willingham, a Mayo Clinic Transplant Doctor, said, "This is a life saving proposition. You have somebody who's had a terrible thing happen, a tragedy in their family. But now you can potentially save up to seven lives with the organs from one donor."

Organ donor experts are speaking with high school sophomores at Bishop Kenny about the importance of donating organs. Students will also hear real life survivor stories.

"I hope it will inspire them to become organ donors so they can impact others peoples lives," student Jusam Ocossi said.

"We're very blessed to see this," Dr. Willingham said. "I transplanted a young lady.. She was 15. Then I got invited to her wedding. Now I still see her. She is at Mayo Clinic and I still see her two or three times a week."

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