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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - About 112,000 people in the United States are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. About 3,000 of them are right here in Michigan.
In three days, the effects of organ donation will be on display as Grand Rapids hosts its first World Transplant Games of America.
Every person competing in the Transplant Games of America will showcase how they benefited from an organ donation.
"The Transplant Games are critical to getting the message out about organ donations," said Transplant Games of America Chairman Bill Ryan.
26 years ago, Ryan's 18-year-old daughter Michelle was preparing for college. She had just returned from getting her driver's license when she realized they hadn't put her down as an organ donor. She drove right back to the DMV and had that changed.
Six weeks later, Michelle died in a car crash.
"It kind of gave us a sense of purpose," said Ryan. "I don't think any parent is ready to lose their child, but there was some sense of quiet to it knowing that her life was extended through other people's lives."
44 people benefited from Michelle's organ donations.
Michigan, a state in which people must opt-in to the donor program rather than opt-out, ranks 44th nationally in number of registered donors, according to the Secretary of State's website.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson pushes for organ-donor awareness. Many sign up when they renew their driver's license.
"People only come in for their driver's license once every four years," explained Johnson. "And now we have it so you can do it online, too. We have it on our most commonly-used forms. But I think that is the place that slows us the most."
The Transplant Games are one more way to raise awareness. The event runs Saturday through Tuesday at Grand Valley State University's Allendale campus.
"It's an amazing process to see other people live because of a donation that your child gave," said Ryan.
A charity lodge where three people were killed back in September 2013 will likely never open again.
Kalamazoo Township Police are asking for your help in finding a 63-year-old man who told people back in November he was going off to die.
A camera mounted on a tow truck caught an example of a common incident Tuesday: a vehicle sliding off the road.