To the Editor:
As we approach the holiday season, we are all considering what gifts to give. One of the most significant gifts you can give is to sign up to save lives by registering to become an organ and tissue donor. I am a strong supporter of organ transplants. With over 111,000 people currently waiting for organs nationally, and only 6,000 people donating annually, too many people are left without a lifeline. The New York statistics are among the worst in the nation. Only 17% of New Yorkers 18 and over are on the donor lists, as compared to 42% on average nationwide. Fighting myths regarding donations and publicizing the positive effects of donating organs are two key steps to bringing organ donation into the mainstream, and improving New York’s statistics.
There are many false assumptions people make about organ donation limitations by age, race, or health conditions. In fact, the medical field has made rapid progress with transplants in recent years so that more organs can be utilized, with a wider range of possible matches at a larger number of hospitals, and a vastly increased expectation of how long organ transplants will last. Astonishingly, one donor can donate up to eight organs and save twenty-two lives.
It is heart wrenching to hear from family members who have lost loved ones due to the lack of a donor, and a very moving experience to hear real-life stories from organ transplant recipients. These stories bring home how gratifying it can be to become a donor. All you need to do is put your name on a donor list when applying for a driver’s license. Or you can sign up on the internet by going to www.donatelifeny.org. It is important to tell your doctor and family of your willingness to donate as well.
I look forward to having continued conversations with you about the best way we, as a state, can help protect those in need of organs get access to them in time to save their lives.
Member of Assembly, 90th A.D.