More than 300 people in the North East are currently waiting for lifesaving transplants.
In the last year alone 31 people died in this region because of a shortage of donated organs.
This week we're being encouraged to register as an organ donor.
But many people don't realise that the final decision also lies with their family, and that having a conversation with them could be crucial.
Christine Webb talks about her family's decision to donate her daughter's organs after she died. Their decision saved the lives of five people.
– Christine Webb, Ruth's mother
It was like that little light at the end of a very dark tunnel... they said there are five people in theatre tonight because of your daughter.
Our health correspondent, Frances Read, has met with three families who allowed their children to become donors. Watch the full report: