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Donate Life Day: Recipients spread word about donating organs

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March 24th is Donate Life Day and the non-profit Donor Network of Arizona put a face to the stories of organ donors and recipients, hoping to send a message to lawmakers and residents of just how important organ donation is.

Travis Brown remembers it like it was yesterday.

It was June 12, 2010 -- the day he received word he would receive two new lungs.

"I was put on a list.  Four months later, I received a call that everybody talks about -- nothing prepares you for that call," he said.

At 31, Brown was diagnosed with terminal lung disease and given three years to live.  The transplant literally gave him a new chance.

Brian and his wife, both Tucson residents, spent the day in the Garden of Life in front of the state capitol with other organ recipients, like 2-year-old Jordan, spreading awareness.

Esther Gonzales' daughter had a transplant.

"It's hard to put into words.. I never thought about anything like this prior to my daughter needing a heart," she said.

In 2013, 180 people in Arizona donated an organ, saving 492 lives.

"If we have someone who's incredibly ill, close to death right here in Arizona, organs are offered here first," said Donor Network of Arizona's Jacqueline Keidel.

The non-profit group sponsored the garden and says the two main criteria for receiving an organ are need and proximity -- that 2,500 people are currently waiting for a transplant in our state.

"Life is not guaranteed. It can be taken away at any time," said Travis.

People like Travis and Jordan, other fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, police officers who hope their stories will make a difference.

Donor Network of Arizona -

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