Last year in Illinois, there were 323 organ donors. They saved 919 lives. There are plenty of statistics to show the impact organ donation has, but instead of talking about it, on Rockford man wants to show you it. He says one young girl's decision left him a lifetime of happy, healthy years.
"Toward the end there, they said I had about 18 days left," said Bob Jensen.
In his mid 50's, Jensen, a father of three, was about to die. Just a year before then, he had no idea anything was even wrong.
"I was just busy with life and taking care of business and raising my family and I suddenly started getting really really sick," he said.
Jensen was diabetic since he was five and always took good care of himself because of it. Then years later, he got the shock of his life.
"I come to find out that I was at stage 5 kidney failure and there is no stage 6," he said.
Jensen was dying. But there was hope. Since he was diligent with his diabetes care, he was a good candidate for a double transplant, a pancreas and kidney. But he'd wait an entire year before he got that call.
"It was a young, 23-year-old woman out of a little town south of Detroit. She had an aneurysm and she was on life support in the hospital," said Jensen.
April Lucas was an organ donor, and a perfect match for Jensen. Her family decided to donate her organs and within 24 hours, Jensen literally got a second chance at life.
"I came back and it was just unbelievable how good I felt. I mean, immediately I could tell the difference because the organs were working," he said.
Now not only is Jensen healthier than ever, he has some new best friends. April's family. Together they advocate for organ donation, trying to show people the difference it can make.
"Donation can do what it's done for me, it just gives somebody else a chance at living and your legacy gets to live on," said Jensen.
And thought at time's it's bittersweet, knowing a young girl had to lose her life to help others survive, Jensen says he makes sure he never takes his life for granted.
"Every moment I love life. Every single moment I do everything," said Jensen.
If you're interested in becoming an organ donor, you can call this number, 1-800-210-2106.
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