SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Thousands of lives could be saved each year if more people placed the telltale organ donor “dot” on their drivers licenses. That was the message Monday from film producer and two-time liver transplant recipient James Redford, speaking at a University of California, San Francisco event promoting organ donation awareness and transplantation research.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

The statistics are grim: across the country, 19 people will die every day because there aren’t enough organ donors in the U.S. In California, 21,000 people are currently awaiting some type of organ donation.

Redford, the son of legendary actor Robert Redford, knows all too well what it feels like to need an organ.

“I was diagnosed with a fatal liver disease in the late ’80s and it caught up with me by ’92,” he recalled.

His health improved following a pair of transplants.

“It wasn’t long before I was back in the world feeling lucky to be alive, but also acutely aware of how little people understood transplantation. And in my mind, specifically, organ donation,” Redford shared. “I got my second chance at life.”

Determined to increase awareness about the need for organ donations, he began making films about the issue. He also agreed to headline Share the Beat, a music and storytelling event on March 11 at San Francisco’s Regency Center.

Proceeds from Share the Beat will benefit an endowment supporting transplant research, as well as training for transplant professionals.

Additional information, including an option to purchase tickets for Share the Beat, is available online.

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