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Donor recipients hope to inspire others to donate

April is Donate Life Month and one Santa Barbara City College student and a fellow organ recipient want to inspire people to become donors by sharing their stories.

Lorena Lopez, 23, received a kidney transplant two years ago from a 17-month-old baby. The same child saved six other people as well.

More than a decade ago, Joe Darga received a heart from a 47-year-old man. He said getting the transplant was the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to him.

Lopez and Darga set up a Donate Life table at City College hoping to get students to become organ donors.

“There is nothing more wonderful than somebody passing life on to you and that’s what that man did, he kind of basically said, ‘Here, I can’t use this anymore, here’s my heart, I want you to live.’ I get emotional just thinking about it,” said Darga, holding back tears.

“There’s really no words I can express how thankful I am for my donor and donor family. They truly changed my life. I’m able to do things that a normal 23-year-old girl should be able to do,” said Lopez with a smile.

Lopez wears a locket with her donor’s picture on it every day.

Currently there are more than 117,000 people on the waiting list for an organ.

For more information on how to become a donor, click here.

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