Debie Switalski is alive because of the liver transplant she received. She carries a picture of Zachary, the man whose choice to be a donor saved her life.

South Bend woman among those who show that organ donations are a gift of life

SOUTH BEND — Debie Switalski knows how fortunate she is.

In November 2008, the South Bend resident’s liver began to fail from undetermined causes and she suddenly found herself fighting for life.

It was then Switalski began to realize just what a gift organ donation could be — a gift of life.

“You live your life as if your donor’s watching,” she said recently. “Life is a gift, and everyone has the opportunity to give that gift.”

Many Hoosiers have the word “donor” and a little red heart to the right of their information on their driver’s licenses, indicating their desire to donate organs upon their deaths for transplantation to save another person’s life. When you get a license with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, you have the option to place your name on the organ donor registry. This list has been growing in Indiana.

To date, there are a little more 4 million people on the state registry. The decision to follow through with registering to be a donor has meant others — including some here in the South Bend area — have a chance to live. 

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