This is Donate Life Month in Iowa as people are encouraged to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. It’s also a time to celebrate those who saved lives through the gift of donation.

Deb Thielen, with Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City, says a new person is added to the national waiting list for organs every ten minutes.

“An average of 22 people die every day while waiting for organs,” Thielen says. “On average, 81 transplants take place every day in the United States and in the year 2014, the lives of almost 30,000 Americans were saved through organ donation.” More than 1.6 million Iowans have registered as organ, tissue and eye donors. Thielen says we can all qualify.

“Anyone,” she says. “It doesn’t make any difference if they have any existing health conditions at the time of death. There is an extensive screening process that is completed through the Iowa Donor Network and they will determine what organs, tissues, what can be recovered.” A number of Donate Life events are planned this month statewide, such as flag-raising ceremonies, run and walk events and more. Learn more at: www.iowadonornetwork.org

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)