ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The death of a beloved St. Pete football player is having an incredible impact on the number of people registering to be organ donors in Florida.
LifeLink, the Tampa company that helped facilitate the donation of Jacquez Welch's organs, says they're seeing a big impact on the number of people registering to be organ donors.
Officials tell ABC Action News they typically see between 180-200 people register to be organ donors daily on their website, donatelifeflorida.org. Now they say that number has spiked to more than 600 registrations a day. LifeLink directly attributes the spike to media coverage about Welch's organ donation.
Welch collapsed on the football field Friday, September 20 during a Northeast High School game. Doctors determined Welch had a preexisting condition called arteriovenous malformation, or AMV, which causes arteries and veins in the brain to abnormally connect and tangle.
Welch's mom says at least 5 of her son's organs were able to be donated, including his heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and skin tissue, which Welch's mom was told will help at least 5 people and impact more than 70 others through tissue donations.
Across the United States, Lifelink says 115,000 people are on waiting lists for organ transplants.
Welch's mom, Marcia Nelson also says she's heard from organ donor recipients from across the world, and from as far away as Africa.
Nelson hopes her son's gift of life will inspire others.
"He's still giving when he's gone, that's big to me. It seems like he sacrificed his life to save others even though he didn't realize he did that or could do that. It's incredible," Nelson explained.
"That's how (Jac)Quez was. He was always thinking about somebody else. The more people who register, the more people who can save lives like my son did," she added while clutching a photo of her son.