Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns is again teaming up with Unyts and the New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD) during Donate Life Month to increase enrollment in the New York State Donate Life Registry.
Donate Life Month is a national monthlong observance aimed at raising public awareness of the critical need for organ, eye and tissue donation. Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are currently waiting for transplants.
During the month of April, all Erie County Auto Bureau offices will encourage customers to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation and the impact the gift of life has on others.
Kearns’ team said, “Enrolling in the Donate Life Registry is a way to ensure that an individual’s wishes about donation will be known at the time of their death.”
“Promoting organ donation in our local auto bureau offices during Donate Life Month continues to make a huge impact on enrollment numbers,” Kearns said. “The more awareness we build around the importance of organ donation, as one person can save up to eight lives as an organ donor and improve the lives of many more through tissue donation.”
New York has the third-highest need for donors in the country, yet the second-lowest percentage of registered donors. Out of the approximately 9,500 New Yorkers on the waiting list, more than 1,700 have been waiting for more than five years. Each year, an estimated 400 men, women and children in the state die because to the shortage of donors.
Since 2014, the Erie County Auto Bureau has signed-up close to 160,000 individuals to the New York State Donor Registry – with over 42,000 new donors in 2018, significantly increasing the number of registrants in comparison to past years.
In fact, Erie County has exceeded the statewide statistic by registering close to 47.4% of all adults over age 18 who checked the box “Yes” to this life-saving cause. Only 35.2% of all adults statewide have said “Yes” to donation and joined the registry.
“The average citizen gets very few chances to save the life of another. Together, through organ, eye and tissue donation, you can be a hero,” Kearns said. “With the simple act of checking a box on a form when you visit the auto bureau, at minimum a single life could be saved.”
A new law implemented in 2017 positively impacted enrollments by lowering the age of eligibility to join the registry from 18 to 16. Currently, more than 55,000 16- and 17-year-olds have enrolled.
For additional information on organ donation, or the New York State Donate Life Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, visit www.unyts.org.