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MCSO Deputy Ruiz sets example by donating organs, Arizona donor network explains the importance

There are 1,600 Arizonans waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, many of whom will die waiting. Here's how you, like Ruiz, can become a hero and save lives.

ARIZONA, USA — A Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputy is still dedicated to serving his community, even in the moments before he is taken off of life support.

Deputy Juan "Johnny" Ruiz will be donating his organs after he is taken off of life support due to him not being able to regain consciousness after being attacked Saturday, county sheriff Paul Penzone said during a press conference.

"He will be making a sacrifice, so that others may benefit," Penzone said. "He's in the process of being tested to determine the viability over the course of the next few days."

Officials say Ruiz died Monday afternoon. 

RELATED: Maricopa County deputy expected to be taken off life support after not regaining consciousness, sheriff says

There are thousands of Arizonans who need the help Ruiz will be providing, according to the Donor Network of Arizona. There are over 1,600 people in Arizona waiting for a life-saving transplant, and many will die waiting.

"One donor can save up to eight lives just through organ donation alone," said Nico Santos, a spokesperson for Donor Network of Arizona. "Then we talk about tissue donation...dental procedures, ligaments for mobility. There are so many things that one person could do."

There are over 106,000 people listed on the national organ waiting list right now, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. A new person is added to the list every 10 minutes, and 20 people die waiting for a life-saving organ transplant every day.

Many people don't receive the care they need because not enough people are registered as organ donors. However, another reason is only a few deaths lend themselves to be fit for organ donation.

"Only about 1% of deaths in hospitals actually lend to organ and tissue donation," Santos said. 

"Because it's so rare, that's why we want everyone to consider registering. Our organization...can't usher the gift of life without the participation of the public," Santos expounded. "What we see as the best way to show love and the final gift that you can give is to say 'Yes, I want to be considered as an organ and tissue donor."

Find out how to sign up to be an organ donor and save the lives of others on the Donor Network of Arizona's website here.

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Inspiring Arizona

Watch a few of the inspiring stories of people doing good and supporting those in their communities across Arizona on our 12 News YouTube playlist here.

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