April is known as Donate Life Month and many activities happen all over the U.S. during this month and throughout the year. As a LifeSource speaker and life-saving organ recipient, I am very grateful for all those that are currently donors. After being a severe diabetic for 46 years, I was afforded the opportunity to be put on a list to receive a pancreas in May of 2005. On Aug. 14, 2005, I received that gift. It has now been over eight wonderful years of insulin free living.

I know many of you have checked the box and are donors. I can't say thank you enough to you for that thoughtful gesture. Each one of you that have done that kind act could enhance or save the life of up to 60 people. When we met my donor's family, we were told that she had helped over 20 people.

Right now in the U.S. alone, there are over 120,000 people on the waiting list for a life-saving organ. Each and every day, 18 of those people die while waiting. Every 12 minutes another person is added to the list. The truth is we are fighting a losing battle due to not enough donors. Even though we have a great number of donors in the U.S., there are many things that go into matching a donor to the recipient. Therefore, even your relative may or may not be a good match. That is the reason we need so many donors.

Right now in the U.S., we have about a 40 percent donor rate on the average. I am proud to say here in Minnesota we are way above that with a 62 percent rate. This is basically due to the fact that we have a great support team of speakers that are willing to spend time in the schools and driver education classes talking to the teenagers how important donating is. I have been humbled the last three years that I have been speaking, by the participation from the health classes and driver education classes in the surrounding schools. I would like to thank the health and driver education teachers for your support.

It is not just health and driver education classes that we speak at. We are available to come to any organization, study group, health facility or church to give this message.

If you are interested in hearing more about the importance of donating or are just interested in hearing my story, you can contact me at (507) 951-2059. You may also contact LifeSource at (651) 603-7882 and Teresa will get you set up for a speaker. I thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this.

Gary Hahn lives in Fountain.