Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs recently announced the launching an aggressive campaign to significantly increase the number of Erie County citizens opting to become organ donors.
"Our goal is to raise the number of registered organ donors at our auto bureau by 30 percent," said Jacobs.
According to Unyts, 80 percent of people who become organ donors register at their local auto bureau. "That means we at the Erie County Auto Bureau have a unique privilege and a responsibility to tell our customers that this simple act of checking a box can save countless lives," said Jacobs.
In order to effectively increase the number of new organ donors County Clerk Jacobs is:
•Conducting training for all auto bureau staff so employees can better explain the importance of becoming an organ donor to their customers.
•Designating one employee at each auto bureau location to be the "Organ Donation Ambassador" to champion the effort.
•Running public service announcements on local networks and papers.
•Partnering with Unyts, the region's leading organ transplant and tissue donation organization.
"We believe this comprehensive campaign approach will result in successfully adding 22,000 new organ donor registrants," said Jacobs. "This most importantly means more lives will be saved."
Jacobs was joined by Bill and Roxanne Williams from Grand Island, the parents of the youngest multi-organ recipient in the United States. Their daughter Olivia, now 12, was also in attendance for the announcement. At 7 months old, Olivia received a liver, intestines, pancreas, and stomach.
"We're just so thrilled to be able to tell Olivia's story and help Erie County Clerk Jacobs raise awareness for organ donations," said Bill Williams. "I hope that people will talk amongst their family as to what their wishes are and when the time comes, check that box, and help the Erie County Auto Bureau reach this goal."
More than 1,000 Western New Yorkers are currently on a waiting list for a life-saving organ. Just one organ and tissue donation has the ability to save and enhance the lives of up to 50 people. Becoming an organ donor at a local auto bureau is a simple act by checking the "New York State Organ and Tissue Donation" consent box on the driver's license application.
Jacobs' is launching this year-long initiative in April to coincide with National "Donate Life" Month.