NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Amid shortages across the country, the Volunteer State is leading the pack in terms of organ and tissue donation per million people.

According to a report by Tennessee Donor Services, the number of living and deceased donors within the state outweighs several others and donors have been signing up at a higher rate than others.

“It truly does show the generosity and the volunteerism of citizens of this state,” said Jill Grandas, executive director for Tennessee Donor Services. “So it is way to go Tennessee!”

According to national donor statistics, Tennessee had 815 deceased donors and 84 living donors across last year. 2020’s highest gross number of living donors was found in Texas with 626.

According to Tennessee Donor Services over 33,000 organs were transplanted or donated with 1,116 coming from Tennessee, both of which are record numbers.

News Channel 11 staff spoke with a local man impacted by this generosity: Joe Carder, who received a transplant liver over seven years ago.

“I’m very appreciative of the gift I’ve been given,” said Carder. “And I don’t think there’s anyone that enjoys life more or is more appreciative of life than I now am.”

The transplant came after several years of heart and liver issues, and Carder said the gift gave him a new lease on life.

“It’s changed my life completely,” said Carder. “I think I’m a better person because of it, I want to pay back what’s been given to me and so I try to be a better person.”

Carder also encouraged others to add their name to the donor registry and contribute to or compete with Tennessee’s lead.