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Utah organ recipients honor their donors, raise awareness

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Posted at 7:37 PM, Dec 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-18 00:37:20-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Several organ transplant recipients expressed gratitude for the donors who helped save their lives in a gathering at the Salt Lake City Public Library Tuesday.

The event also served to help raise awareness about the tens of thousands of people who are on waiting lists to receive organs.

"Right now in the United States there are over 120,000 people waiting for a life-saving transplant and in Utah we've had over 700 people waiting," said Alex McDonald, Director of Intermountain Donor Services.

One of the organ transplant recipients at the event was Ryann Rutledge, who learned at age 15 that she was in kidney failure and needed dialysis.

After spending four years on dialysis, Rutledge received a kidney from a friend of her sister's - a young man named Darrick Worsley, who she had never met.

"[It was] a huge blessing in our family, because I was so sick and everything. It was just amazing to me to think that a stranger would give me his organ, because he doesn't even know me," Rutledge said. "He's definitely a hero in a lot of peoples' eyes."

Since then, Rutledge and Worsley have got to know each other and they hope their story could lead others to donate under the "Good Samaritan Living Kidney Donation Program."

For more information on organ donation in Utah, visit: http://www.yesutah.org and idslife.org