Right now, there are over 100,000 Americans in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, with a new person added to that list every 10 minutes.
Sadly, 18 people die every day waiting for an organ that never becomes available. However, the good news is we have the power to change those statistics. One person, by simply registering to be an organ donor, can save up to eight lives and help improve up to 50 others.
April is National Donate Life Month – a time to raise awareness and promote the benefits of organ donation. Currently, our state lags behind the rest of the country’s percentage of registered organ donors, with just 22 percent of New Yorkers entered into the registry, while the national average is 45 percent. It’s absolutely essential that we work to increase the number of potential donors.
Two years ago, New York passed Lauren’s Law, which I supported, making organ donation simple and easy by allowing those applying for a New York State driver’s license to check “yes” or “no” for the organ donor registry (Ch. 465 of 2012). The law is named for Lauren Shields, a 12-year-old who was the recipient of a heart transplant which saved her life. Lauren’s advocacy and her bravery have inspired many to register as organ donors, helping save countless lives.
This month, please consider becoming an organ donor and encourage family and friends to do the same. You never know when you or a loved one may need an organ transplant. Together, we can make a difference in our communities and help provide the lifesaving opportunities so many desperately need.
If you’re interested in becoming an organ donor, you can sign up for the Donate Life Registry online at dmv.ny.gov, in person at any Department of Motor Vehicles office or by filling out a donor form at health.ny.gov and mailing it to the NYS Department of Health. If you do not have a driver’s license, you can sign up at organdonor.gov.
By becoming an organ donor, you can help give others a second chance at life.