Lungs function to circulate the air we breathe, providing a steady supply of oxygen to cells while removing carbon dioxide from the body. Damaged lungs can cause people to feel constantly out of breath as well as fatigued due to the lack of oxygen reaching their vital organs. Diseases affecting the pulmonary or respiratory system, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Cystic Fibrosis and lung cancer can damage lung tissue and have permanent effects.
With only about 1,600 lung transplants performed annually, there are hundreds of people left on the lung transplant waiting list each year whose lives could be saved through the gift of donation. The choice to become a lung donor can both lengthen and improve a recipient's life. Donors can contribute one or both lungs, or, in rare cases, can become a living donor by giving only a portion of their lung to another person. As more names are added to an already-long lung transplant waiting list, choosing to become a lung donor can help bring hope to thousands of people.