(New City, NY) –Today, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) joined LiveOnNY, Donate Life New York State, Rockland Organ Donation Alliance, transplant recipients and fellow lawmakers to raise awareness about Organ Donor Enrollment Day.
The effort to encourage Rockland County residents to join Team Rockland and become registered organ donors. Lawmakers and advocates stood outside the Rockland County Courthouse, practicing social distancing to call on New Yorker’s to become someone’s hero. While New York has made strides to increase the organ donor registry, the State continues to outpace the nation in the need for organs for transplant. Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.
“Real heroes don’t wear capes,” said Senator David Carlucci. “When you selflessly choose to be an organ donor, you can save up to eight lives. One tissue donor can help improve the lives of up to 50 people. Many New Yorkers are waiting a year or more for a life-saving transplant, and we have to do everything we can to change hearts and minds. This year is ever more pressing because of COVID-19, which has decreased the number of people signing up. Please join Team Rockland and register to be an organ donor today.”
A champion for organ donation, Senator Carlucci was honored with LiveOnNY’s Legislative Champion Award in 2019 for his work on Lauren’s Law, which requires people at the DMV to indicate if they would like to be an organ donor or skip the question. Last Saturday marked the 8th year anniversary of the signing of the legislation, which has helped increase organ donors in New York State.
New York’s continued efforts like this have helped increase the organ donor registry from 2,286,328 people to 6,433,665 people since 2010, nearly tripling and reflecting a growth of 181%, according to Donate Life New York State. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a 12% drop in organ donor enrollments as of August of 2020 compared to the same time last year. The pandemic, making organ donor enrollment more pressing this year than ever. By educating communities about the importance of organ donation with events like this one, advocates hope to change hearts and minds.
Heart transplant recipient, Roxanne Watson said, “Be somebody’s hero like my Donor Michael was for the five of us.”
Watson’s donor, Michael Bovill was a 23-year-old, U.S. Coast Guard cadet and fireman who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 2010 on the George Washington Bridge. After Watson’s transplant she made it her mission to sign up as many organ donors as possible and has set a record of more than 11,000 people.
"People like Roxanne Watson exemplify why we should all support organ donation. Every 18 hours someone in NYS dies waiting for an organ - and there are currently over 9,500 people on the waiting list. Sadly, New York State still ranks last in the nation in percent of residents registered as organ donors. We can and should do better. Remember Roxanne's moving story about her donor Michael and consider registering today - you could literally save a life," said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski.
“I was proud to stand alongside my colleagues in government and organ recipients to raise awareness about Organ Donor Enrollment Day,” said Senator James Skoufis. “Currently, over 9,300 New Yorkers are on a waitlist for an organ transplant, and encouraging altruistic donations is an important step in closing the gap between people who need transplants and people who are willing to donate. I thank Senator Carlucci and all of the advocates for their dedication to this issue and look forward to continuing to partner with them to save lives.”
“New Yorkers have been through a lot this year, but in difficult times we always come together to support one another,” said LiveOnNY President and CEO Helen Irving. “We hope this Organ Donor Enrollment Day will inspire more people to learn about the power of organ donation and to have conversations about their end of life wishes. Just as masks save lives, so do life-saving organ donors. Let’s come together to bring hope to the nearly 10,000 people in our state still waiting for a transplant.”
“We know that our fellow New Yorkers overwhelmingly support organ and tissue donation, so New York State Donor Enrollment Day is about helping to turn that support into action, and registering as many donors as possible. I know our efforts will go a long way to bring hope to the thousands of men, women and children currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant,” said Donate Life New York State Executive Director, Aisha Tator.
Residents can learn more about organ donation and sign up to register today by visiting: https://donatelife.ny.gov/ref/LiveOnNYDD140/.