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Gov. Hochul & Tracy Morgan call on New Yorkers to join Donate Life registry


Mon, Apr 1st 2024 09:15 am

Say more than 8,000 await a life-saving transplant

√ April Marks National Donate Life Month

Submitted by the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Tracy Morgan recently joined the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Health to encourage New Yorkers to give the gift of life by joining the NYS Donate Life registry. April marks National Donate Life Month, which shines a spotlight on the urgent need for organ, eye and tissue donors.

“Too many New Yorkers find themselves faced with the knowledge that they or someone they love is in need of an organ transplant,” Hochul said. “It only takes a moment to enroll, and that moment can end up saving lives. I encourage all New Yorkers to join Tracy and me and donate life.”

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan underwent a kidney transplant in December 2010, which he credits with saving his life.

Morgan said, “I am living proof of the benefits of organ donation, and it has given me an opportunity to show people that you can go on and live a full life when you find a match. My donor saved my life and, by enrolling in the New York Donate Life Registry, you could help save many others.”

There are more than 8,000 New Yorkers currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, and sadly, more than 700 New Yorkers die or are removed from the waiting list each year because they became too sick and an organ did not come in time to save their lives. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and heal 75 more through eye and tissue donation.

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “If you knew there was a chance you could save someone’s life, would you do it? When you register as an organ donor, you are answering that question with a proud ‘yes’. We at DMV are proud to be the leading way New Yorkers sign up to become organ donors, and we are committed to growing the registry so every New Yorker who needs a transplant can get one."

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “If you are a patient waiting for an organ, whether it is a kidney, liver, heart or other organ, the waiting is full of anxiety, hope, and at times desperation. The need for organ donors is enormous and we are happy to partner with the DMV as we encourage everyone to commit to saving lives. The decision to become an organ donor is simple; you get to help someone who desperately needs and deserves help after you no longer need your organs. I am an organ donor – hope you are as well.”

Donate Life New York State Executive Director Aisha Tator said, "As we unite at the New York International Auto Show with the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles and The Greater New York Automobile Association, we're not just showcasing the latest in automotive innovation – we're honoring the ultimate gift: the gift of life. This partnership signifies a significant milestone in our mission to amplify awareness and ignite action during Donate Life Month. Through our collective strength, we're empowering individuals to become heroes by registering as organ and tissue donors. Let's drive forward together, spreading the message of hope, unity, and the life-changing impact of organ and tissue donation."

Assembly member Robert Smullen and wife, Megan, said, “When we recently lost our son AJ to a tragic accident, our only solace was that we matched five families in the Donate Life program. We now pray for those families and hope that our son may live on with the recipients of the Donate Life program.”

New Yorkers make up almost 8% of the national organ transplant waiting list, according to Department of Health data. However, the state’s organ donor registry enrollment lags nearly every other state. Any New Yorker aged 16 and older is eligible to enroll in the registry. Donors can determine what they want to give, including specific organs and tissues, as well as identify whether the donation is for transplant, research or both.

New Yorkers can enroll to be organ donors in a variety of ways in addition to directly through the NYS Donate Life registry:

√ Sign up through the NYS DMV or by completing the donation section on a driver's license or non-driver ID application, or when you renew your license or non-driver ID.

√ Complete the voter registration form or register to vote online.

√ Complete the donation section on the application for an ID in New York City through the IDNYC program.

√ New Yorkers have the option of becoming an organ donor when applying for various licenses or certifications from the Department of State, as well as the Department of Health. Those seeking sporting licenses (hunting, fishing and trapping) through the Department of Environmental Conservation online portal can join the registry as part of that process. People can also sign up through the Marketplace when they renew with NY State of Health.

The registry database is confidential, and individuals can access their registration at any time to make changes. Frequently asked questions about organ donation and the registry can be found online.

DMV also offers a Donate Life custom license plate to raise awareness and support critical research. When a New Yorker orders the plate, $20 of the annual fee is directed to the "Life Pass It On Trust Fund," which is used for organ donation and transplant research, and educational programs promoting organ and tissue donation. In addition, since 2020, New Yorkers have had the opportunity to contribute to the fund when filing their income taxes.

To learn more about organ donation, visit the Donate Life New York website.

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