Every 11 seconds, another person is added to the list of people who need an organ donation.
Each year, the seniors in the advanced anatomy class at Ottumwa High School work to spread awareness of this issue and encourage people to sign up to be an organ donor. This year, the students are targeting two groups, people over the age of 55 and minorities.
"Those are the groups of people that aren't as prevalent in the donor registry list," said Abbie Budan.
"They're aren't the greatest supply of donors, but they are the greatest number on the list of people who need to be donated to," added Rodrigo Guerrero. "So maybe if we can get these groups more involved, the whole process would go smoother."
The first step is to reach out to those groups and educate them on how they can help.
"Most older people think that they aren't able to donate because of their age and they think that their organs aren't able to help anybody," said Lizbeth Buenrostro. "But they can and it's our main focus to let them know that."
"In Ottumwa, it also means reaching out to the Hispanic population," said Kathy Lopez. "And we're trying to do an article in a Hispanic paper, so that more of that population knows what's going on."
The students said their research shows that one donation of an organ or tissue can help up to 100 people, but organ donation also does not just mean donations for victims, but tissue and organ donation for educational or research purposes. The students are working to clear up the misconceptions regarding organ and tissue donation.
"I know that a lot of people think that if they're registered as an organ donor, doctors won't try as hard to save your life, but in reality, doctors don't even know if you're an organ donor until after the fact," said Sarah Kearney.
As they work on this project, the students are reaching out to media outlets, putting up posters around the community and will also have people sign up for the donor registry at the school's blood drive.
If you are 18 and under, you must have your parent or guardian's permission to become an organ donor, otherwise, you can register when you next renew your driver's license. You can also learn more about organ donation or you can register by clicking here.