By CBSN Denver Producer Jaimie Goldstein

(CBS4)– We may take for granted our own organs and what they do for us. But Feb. 14 gives us the reminder we need: be grateful because not everyone’s organs work.

(credit: CBS)

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Gregg Farber knows first-hand. Seventeen years ago, both his dad’s kidneys were failing. That’s when Farber stepped up.

“In my case, it was my father, so it was an easy decision. But there are real heroes out there that give kidneys and livers to people they don’t even know. The more educated we become about how many people are doing that, I think the more lives we’ll save.”

He says that after 17 years, he lives an active life – not inhibited by long-term effects as a donor. Right now, there are close to 1,700 Coloradans currently waiting for transplants.

Farber also serves on the board for the American Transplant Foundation. It’s a nonprofit that helps donors and recipients with the financial side of things.

(credit: Gregg Farber )

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“They’re worried about losing their job or potentially not being able to afford their mortgage or bills. Anytime they’re out from becoming a donor, we will help them through grants to pay some of those bills.”

And like almost everything these days, COVID-19 has had a deep impact on Colorado transplants.

“We’ve started an emergency fund this year and we’ve raised over $95,000 just because of the pandemic. There are people who have had to put off their transplants for a significant amount of time just due to the current environment.”

The foundation has also pivoted to virtual trivia events to raise money for the emergency fund and other programs.

(credit: American Transplant Foundation)

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“We have a mentorship program so if somebody’s going through the process of becoming a recipient, they’re not alone. We will help them through the whole process. No charge to them, so that they can feel like they’re part of something. They’re not alone.”