As the temperatures warm, the fields begin to green and new life springs around us, celebrating National Donate Life Month seems fitting.

There are currently 91,000 men, women and children on the waiting list for a life-saving transplant. This year, four times as many people are on the organ transplant waiting list than will be transplanted. On average, 17 Americans die each day due to a lack of available organs. Did you know that one donor can save the lives of seven people and enhance the lives of 50 others?

Because of God's grace and a very generous decision from a loving family who had just lost their 14-year-old daughter, I am alive today. Born with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease of the lungs and digestive system that slowly, but surely, does its best to zap every breath you take, I was told that my only how of survival was to have a double-lung transplant. Six years and eight months ago I was given the gift of life and received new lungs. Since that time, I have lived a life that I never dreamed I would even live to see, let alone live so fully.

I have gone from not being able to walk across the room without getting short of breath to being able to complete the Ogden 20K in Wheeling in May of 2007. Daily activities that most people take for granted like taking a shower, climbing stairs and carrying in groceries required so much energy and oxygen that I would become fatigued. I felt like I was failing in every aspect of my life, from being a good wife, daughter and sister to being a good aunt to my nieces and nephews whom I loved dearly and wanted to spend as much time with as possible. Praise God, since transplant, I have a new life.

Oxygen tanks and three times a day breathing treatments are a thing of the past. I have energy to complete daily tasks, play and exercise and even run a business. I am thrilled to share my story with others and appreciate every opportunity to encourage others to make the most of the time they have been given through proper nutrition and exercise. Transplants never come without some complications, precautions and medications, but the life I am enjoying now far outweighs any negative consequences of transplant. I daily praise God for the lungs he is allowing me to use and care for. Having a transplant makes one appreciate the little things in life. We too often forget that good health is one of the greatest blessings of all!

Being an organ and/or tissue donor is one of the most generous things you can do. All major religious groups support organ and tissue donation as a generous act of charity. People of all ages and medical histories can donate life. I am proof that transplantation works!

The good news is that each year more than 27,000 lives are saved through the kindness of organ donors. It is worth noting that in a world where we hear so much negativity and seem to have so many problems, there are still many loving, kind people who are willing to help others. Perhaps if we could all stop counting our troubles for just a moment, we might realize the blessings we have. Receiving new lungs has been a blessing beyond what I ever deserve, but one I cherish with every breath. I hope you will consider saying "yes" to organ and tissue donation. You can register your wishes at the BMV and sign up in the Ohio Donor Registry. Tell your family of your wishes. Wearing or displaying a green ribbon signifies support of organ and tissue donation.

For more information, contact www.lifeofohio.org or call 1-800-525-5667. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to the Great Strides for Cystic Fibrosis Walk on May 16. The walk will begin at 2 p.m. and will be at Deerassic Park, just outside Cambridge. Please help us find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. Of every dollar donated, 90 cents is used to fund the vital programs of the CF Foundation. Recently, the CF Foundation received recognition in Smart Money as the number one health related charity in the country.

Thank you and God bless.

Janet Reed,

Owner of Curves of Cambridge,