St. Peter’s Lutheran School Principal Scott Schumacher made a life-changing decision nine years ago: He donated a kidney to his godson, Cole Briggs.

Doctors learned the boy’s kidneys weren’t working properly shortly after birth. Soon after his first birthday, doctors determined that a kidney transplant was needed.

Schumacher stepped up and said he’d be the donor. He proved to be a perfect match through testing, and the donation process proceeded.

The surgery was successful and Briggs’ body quickly took to the new organ. While Briggs still has some health challenges today, overall he is a thriving 10-year-old boy.

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What Schumacher did illustrates the important gift of organ donation and how you can make a priceless difference in another person’s life.

The gift of organ donation sometimes involves a live donor, as was Schumacher. A more common way is for a person to give permission for their organs to be donated to others upon death. Either way, the gift is immeasurable.

The need is great. As of Nov. 10, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network listed 122,700 candidates in need of an organ transplant. Of those, 101,259 — or 83 percent — needed a kidney. The other types of organs most in need are:

Liver (15,082)

Heart (4,196)

Lung (1,547)

Pancreas (1,045)

Intestine (276)

It’s easy to become a donor.

People can become organ and tissue donors when they update or renew their driver’s licenses. This can be done at a Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch, or online at

A person also can register to become a donor by going online at donatelife Anyone under 18 needs a parent or guardian’s permission and signature, according to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Specifying organ donation in a will is another way to become a donor. Making sure a will is updated to reflect that desire is important.

Deciding to become an organ donor is a serious and personal decision, and one that impacts your life and others.

In fact, more than 100,000 people are awaiting a new lease on life. You can help ensure that, as Scott Schumacher did.