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      Upper Peninsula boasts many organ donors

      Seventeen years ago Derrick Fries was diagnosed with kidney failure. Fries says he wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for his mother who donated her kidney and then a close friend who donated her kidney after his first transplant failed.

      "Personally, it's one of the greatest gifts you can give another person. I have four children and for me to be healthy, to be able to run around with them and do the things I need to do in my daily life, you can't get a better gift than that," said Derrick.

      Out of the 300,000 people that live in the U.P., almost 12 percent of the population are registered organ donors.

      And to find out how helpful Yoopers really are, information was obtained from the Michigan Secretary of State office to find out how a little sticker is giving the gift of life.

      It's a simple question every person is asked when getting a Michigan license: "Are you interested in being on our organ donor registry?"

      Asking that simple question won the Marquette Secretary of State's branch office the Gift of Life Michigan Community Champion Award for support of organ donation for the highest number of registered donors in the U.P. In Marquette County, 5,161 people are registered donors.

      "If you can help somebody and people can live, something positive can come out of a real tragic situation. You can prevent a family from having to go through the grief and suffering," said Gail Brandly, a supervisor at Marquette General and Liaison for Organ and Tissue Donation.

      For more information on registering as a donor, click here.