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Dear Editor,

As we approach the 49th Anniversary of Earth Day, most of us do things to help protect our environment and are learning to recycle everything we possibly can. But, many are not “recycling” the most important things -- our organs. There are currently almost 114,000 individuals in the United States waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant; 2,100 of them are in Wisconsin.

Sadly, on the average, 20 individuals die every day because there is no organ available for them. Each year there are many individuals who could have been organ donors, but because they had not designated their wishes during their lifetime, their loved ones declined the opportunity to donate.

If those individuals had registered to donate, many more lives would have been saved. Our daughter, Karlynn, believed that “life is a gift to share” and because of her decision to register to be a donor, five people received the gift of life they had been waiting for. Karlynn was 28 years old, married to the love of her life for six years, and the mother of a five month old son, our first grandchild. As donor parents, the heartache of our loss is with us every day, but we are so proud of Karlynn’s decision to help others.

April is Donate Life Month, what better time to choose to help others? For more information and to register online visit www.donatelifewisconsin.org. Please take time to learn about donation and document your wishes -- and be sure to let your family know. One way or another, every one does make a decision, we hope you choose to help others.

Wyman and Marna Johnson