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'Donate Life Month' highlights the importance of organ donation

More than 108,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a donor and more than 6,000 of those people live in New England

PORTLAND, Maine — April is Donate Life Month, a time for those who have helped save lives and those in need of saving to highlight the importance of organ donation.

Here in Maine, state leaders and those involved in organ donation gathered at Portland City Hall on Thursday to encourage Mainers to help save a life.

"Organ donation is very, very rare. You're more likely to need an organ transplant than to become a donor," Matt Bogger with Donate Life New England said.

Organ donor recipients shared their stories too, like Judy Couture of Topsham who got a liver transplant about four years ago. Her donor was a 43-year-old man who died of a brain aneurysm.

But not everyone has found their donor like Couture.

"If I don't get a kidney then... I'm 37 and I have three children and this is going to be it for me," Maryann Engelbert said.

RELATED: Litchfield mother desperate for kidney transplant searches for living donor

We first introduced you to Engelbert three months ago. She has end-stage kidney disease and is searching for a living donor.

"For people like me, it's life-saving," she said.

Bogger added that the goal for Donate Life is to have at least 50 percent of the country registered to be organ donors. Right now, many states are well below that 50 percent mark.

But he said Maine actually leads New England with 57 percent of eligible Mainers registered to be organ donors on their driver's license. Donate Life officials say they'd like to see Maine get to 60 percent.

Living donors are also needed.

"You can just research it online, Google it, anything and you can find it and you can also just get put on the national donor's list as well," Engelbert said. 

More than 108,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a donor and more than 6,000 of those people live in New England.

To become a donor, visit donatelife.net, or to become a living donor visit unos.org.