National Donor Day is observed on Feb. 14 annually in the United States. The day celebrates those who have signed up for organ donation. It also helps raise awareness about the large queue of patients awaiting crucial medical transplants.

National Donor Day focuses on the "five points of life," according to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). They include organs, tissues, marrow, platelets and blood.

The day was first observed by Saturn Corporation and its partner United Auto Workers in 1998. Since then, it has gained national popularity as it is also backed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nonprofit groups and health agencies carry out donation campaigns across the U.S. on Feb. 14. These campaigns focus on getting people to sign up as official organ donors. Other objectives include raising awareness, fundraising and setting up temporary blood donation camps.

One such camp will be jointly set up this year by Donate Life Kentucky and Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) in Louisville. The KBC maintains a supply of donated blood across 70 hospitals in the state.

"National Donor Day also falls on Valentine's Day, so we're especially excited to see Kentuckians show love and honor to organ and tissue donors, recipients, and those awaiting their gift of life on this special day," Donate Life Kentucky's executive director Shelley Snyder told Fox News affiliate WDRB.

"Blood donors play such a crucial role in the process of organ donation and transplantation," she added while explaining the importance of the campaign.

HRSA data showed there were 105,800 individuals on the national organ waiting list in 2021, while more than 40,000 transplants were completed. One person is added to the list every 10 minutes and most of them await a healthy kidney, the department's website said. Last year's data shows that 83% of people required a kidney, while 11% needed a liver.

While heart and lungs were donated in abundance, there was a deficit in kidney and liver donations. More than 90,000 kidneys were required in 2021 but only 24,670 were received.

Organ Donation
Organ Donation. Gerd Altmann/Pixabay