GAY, Mich. (WJMN) – Lisa Werner lost her daughter Mischelle to a tragic car accident in 2014, but because she was an organ donor, she lives on in the lives of those who received the gift of life, in the form of an organ donation. She believes the biggest hurdle facing organ donation is understanding the need.

“It’s just awareness,” said Werner. “It has to be brought to the front and made, the information available more than what it is”

Mischelle’s gifts saved five lives, and her donated arteries and skin have helped dozens more.

Across the nation, there are more than 100,000 people waiting for the lifesaving gift of an organ transplant. Every nine minutes another person is added to that list. Unfortunately, 17 people die each day waiting for an organ to be available. According to UP Health System Hospital supervisor, Bronwyn Roell, it’s very important to take the simple steps to make your wishes known ahead of time, before tragedy strikes.

“They’re in a time of significant trauma, and to think clearly is really challenging,” saild Roell. “Yup, they checked the box and that’s what we wanna do.”

For Werner, it’s more than checking a box, it’s a chance to see her daughter’s wishes realized, to help others with the gift of life that may now live on in all those she has helped.

“Don’t necessarily use your brain to make this decision, but the love in your heart, that you’re giving this selfless gift to someone that needs it,” said Werner.

In addition to lifesaving organ donations, just one person has the power to help upwards of 75 people through eye and tissue donation. If you’d like to become a donor, click here.