Organ transplant databases are on the rise with waiting lists backing up, and not enough donors stepping forward to help ease this critical bottleneck.

It is why health officials are are ramping up their efforts to promote awareness during this holiday season.

"There are almost five-thousand New Jerseyans, who are on a waiting list for an organ transplant," explains Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary O'Dowd. "Right now, only thirty-two percent of New Jerseyans are registered as donors."

Anyone, regardless of age and medical history, can sign up to be a donor. One person's participation can have a significant impact.

"One person, who is an organ donor, can save up to eight lives through organ donation," O'Dowd says, "Through organ and tissue donation, one person can make a difference in as many as fifty lives."

Organ donation was once considered an experimental technique, but it has now become an established and safe procedure.

Part of the issue with increasing the number of donors in New Jersey, is that the issue does not hit many people's radar until a loved one or themselves is faced with the need for a transplant or tissue. Combatting this is on the forefront for officials.

"What we're trying to do is bring some awareness to the issues of organ donation, that this is something that is truly a tremendous gift," O'Dowd says.

Organ donor registration is available online or in-person at your local Motor Vehicle Commission agency

Organizations interested in raising awareness about organ donation can work with NJ Sharing Network and Donate Life NJ to create public service announcements, sponsor press conferences, link their websites to www.donatelifenj.org and organize donor registry drives in conjunction with community events. For more information on working with NJ Sharing Network to encourage increased donor designations please visit www.sharenj.org.

"During this season of giving and this season of service, individuals should really consider becoming an organ donor," said O'Dowd.