Report shows increased number of organ donors registering in California

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) -- New hope for thousands of Californians facing a life-or-death situation as numbers reveal more people are signing up to be organ donors in the state, according to officials. 

Sometimes it's hard for the Monica family in San Jose to relax.

"I pray all the time," says Emma Monica.

Monica prays a normal life is around the corner for her 28-year-old daughter Marina.

"I've been waiting five years now for a kidney," said Marina Monica.

Marina has a genetic condition that attacks her kidneys. She takes five different medications and four times a week, the Cupertino High School graduate is hooked up to a dialysis machine for three hours at a time.

She is one of 23,000 California residents waiting for a life-saving organ donation.

Marina and her mother are both encouraged by new numbers released to KTVU that reveal a significant increase in the number of people registering to be organ donors in California.

And the spike in donors may be thanks to a new law that helps undocumented residents of California get driver's licenses.

From January 2 through February 20, 110,000 people have registered for the new driver's licenses allowed under AB60 and 50,000 people have signed up to be organ donors which is a 30 percent increase compared to this time last year.

"We went 'Wow!'" said Cindy Siljestrom, President of the Board of Donate Life California.

Siljestrom is also CEO of the California Transplant Donor Network. She says it's too early to directly tie the increase to the new driver's licenses however the correlation is strong.

"We'd be delighted if it continues. It means we have more people who are potential organ and tissue donors," said Siljestrom.

"That just means more hope that hopefully I'll find a match and be able to get back to a normal life," said Marina Monica.

According to the donor network, one organ donor can save up to eight lives.

If you're interested in registering, you can visit the website