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Religious Leaders Show Support for Organ Donation

CHICAGO (AP) - A group of religious leaders is speaking out to assure the faithful that organ donation does not run counter to their religious beliefs.  Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh leaders gathered in Chicago this week to show their support for organ donation.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White also attended and said in a statement that "people often cite religious beliefs as a reason for not signing up for the state's organ and tissue donor registry."  White says the religions represented at the meeting show that many faiths support "this lifesaving act."

This weekend is National Donor Sabbath, when religious communities hold services in support of organ donation.

In Illinois, some 5,000 people are on transplant waiting lists. About 300 people in Illinois die each year because organs aren't available.

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