During the Thanksgiving and Christmas season we focus on giving and gratitude.

The gift of organ donation is not often a topic of conversation, but people should be aware that one donor can potentially save the lives of up to eight people. 

More than 600 Hoosiers are on waiting lists for organ, tissue and eye donations, according to the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization.

Nationwide, more than 90,000 people are hoping to receive a life-saving transplant; sadly, it's estimated that 17 people die every day waiting for such a transplant.

The good news is that more than 25,000 lives were saved last year from the gift of organ donation.

If you are willing to be an organ donor when you die, discuss it now with your family and health professionals.

When you apply for or renew your driver's license, you will be asked if you'd like to become a donor. If you say "yes," a red heart will be printed on your license showing that you have agreed to become a donor.

For more information visit: organdonor.gov/about/data.html

Below are facts associated with organ donation from donatelifeindiana.org/get-the-facts/top-myths

• Organ, eye and tissue recovery happens only after all life-saving efforts have been exhausted and death has been legally declared.

• Everyone can register as a donor, regardless of medical history. Suitability to be a donor is determined at the time of death.

• Your family's information will never be released without their consent. Communication is carefully screened by the organ procurement organization.

• Ranking on the waiting list does not consider race, income or social status. Factors considered are blood type, medical urgency, geographic location, organ size, tissue match and time spent waiting.

• All major religions in the U.S. support organ, eye and tissue donation. Some leave it to personal choice; others encourage it and consider it a charitable act.

• The donor's family will not pay for the donation process. The organ, eye or tissue recipient is responsible for these costs.

Thousands of Hoosiers are able to celebrate this holiday season with their loved ones because of the foresight and generosity of people who made the decision to give the gift of life.

Hundreds more are waiting for that gift.