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Organ transplant patients often get good news during holidays

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Updated: 12/27/2013 6:21 pm
JACKSONVILLE, - 121,000 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant of some kind in the United States.

However, the demand far outweighs the supply of organs in the U.S.

It's a problem Katie Smith knows about all too well.

Smith has been living with cystic fibrosis since she was 4 months old.

It's a disease that affects her lungs and causes her to have a hard time breathing.

Her condition got so bad in 2010 that she became one of more than 5000 people in Florida now waiting for a transplant.

"My lungs are in such bad shape I have to do four treatments a day and they take about an hour to an hour and a half," Smith said.

Three years later, Smith is still waiting for that transplant.

"Because of my size it was just going to happen when it happens," Smith said.

But Smith does know her chances of getting two new lungs goes up during the holidays.

Donate Life Organizers say as we get closer to New Year's Day, the number of drivers on the road increases, leaving a higher chance for deadly accidents.

Organizers say that means more organs become available.

It's something Smith says is bittersweet.

"You know in order to get that set of lungs that somebody else has to lose their life and that's really hard," said Smith.

Donate life organizers say even though more organs become available this time of year, there's another roadblock for those on the waiting list.

People have to be registered as an organ donor for their organs to be used in people like Smith.

"There's a lot of fear surrounding the idea of being an organ donor," said Smith.

But Smith hopes with enough education, people's fears of donating will subside.

Because she says it could give her and thousands of others another chance at life.

"It's a chance to make that tragic event mean something for another family," said Smith.

You can register online to become an organ donor.
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