HYDE PARK, NY – April is National Donate Life month, and a regional non-profit organization recently honored Senator Sue Serino with their ‘Legislative Champion’ Award for her commitment to promoting organ donation. Senator Serino was presented with the award in Hyde Park by Scott Wohl of LiveOnNY, an organization dedicated to facilitating organ donation and empowering those whose lives have been touched by the process. The two were joined in her district office by Dan Weglinski, a local liver transplant recipient, and his mother Sally who shared their unique experience in an effort to continue raising awareness for the importance of organ donation.
“Organ and tissue donations save lives every day, and to be recognized by an organization like LiveOnNY that works tirelessly 365 days a year to facilitate donations and support recipients, is a tremendous honor,” said Senator Serino. “I am especially thankful to Dan and Sally Weglinski for sharing their experiences with me, and for working to help people understand how truly important it is to become an organ donor. I will continue to work tirelessly to raise awareness for this important cause and I encourage community members to take a few minutes today to ‘Donate Life’ by registering as an organ donor.”
With 10,000 New Yorkers currently on a waiting list to receive an organ, the need for newly registered donors is critical. According to LiveOnNY, every 18 hours a New York resident actually dies because a living organ is not available. However, the organization reports that for each New Yorker who registers as an organ donor, up to eight lives can be saved, and an additional 50 lives can be positively impacted by tissue donation.
Dan Weglinski of Hyde Park shared his story of receiving a donation and noted that the process not only had a direct impact on his life, but his children’s as well saying, “I was told at the age of 13 that I would need a liver transplant, and eventually received one right before I turned 35. Prior to the surgery, there were days I could not even get out of bed or play with my two-year-old son on the floor. It has been two and a half years since the transplant that saved my life, and now I have a 14 month old daughter. Neither of us would be here today without the donor and doctors that made it possible. Thanks again to the Senator and everybody else who provides funding and awareness for organ donation.”
“Senator Serino has done outstanding work in support of organ donation and transplantation in New York,” said Scott Wohl, Senior Manager of Community Engagement and Activation for LiveOnNY. “LiveOnNY was pleased to honor her for her important contributions, which have gone a long way to save lives through donation and transplantation.”
Senator Serino currently sponsors legislation (S. 1422) that would make more options available for emergency transportation of organ and human tissue delivery to ensure that lifesaving organs can be transported more efficiently. The bill would designate organ delivery vehicles as emergency vehicles, which would permit them to be retrofitted with lights and sirens, allowing their drivers to more easily navigate through traffic and congestion and ensure a quicker delivery. Currently, the law allows blood delivery vehicles to operate as emergency vehicles, yet organ and tissue delivery vehicles are not covered under the statute. The bill has passed the Senate unanimously annual since 2016, however the NYS Assembly has failed to take it up for a vote before the full body.
LiveOnNY is an organization whose mission centers on educating the community about organ and tissue donation, facilitating donations throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island, and supporting New Yorkers and their families who have been touched by the donation process. The organization reports that while the number of New Yorkers registered as organ donors is growing, there is still an acute need. Throughout the month of April—‘Donate Life Month’—the organization, along with countless others across the country, work to promote organ donations through various awareness activities and events. To learn more about this initiative, visit: https://www.donatelife.net.
For more information on LiveOnNY, or to learn how you can become an organ donor, please visit www.liveonny.org