By Senator Patty Ritchie
Did you know that there are nearly 10,000 people from across New York State who are on waiting lists for organ transplants that could save their lives?
According to recent statistics, that number increases every ten minutes, with more than 600 New York State residents losing their lives last year due to an organ not being available in time.
Many people do not realize that when you sign up to become an organ donor, you are potentially saving lives.
Recently, I was proud to support a new law, which just went into effect on February 14, that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to become donors by enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry.
Now, people 16 or older will be able to check “yes” and join the New York State Donate Life Registry at the same time they first apply for a learner’s permit, driver’s license or non-driver identification card at their local Department of Motor Vehicle office.
With this new measure, New York joins 48 other registries where there is either no age restriction, or the minimum age to register is younger than 18.
While no one wants to be in the position of requiring a life-saving transplant for themselves or a loved one, we need to increase participation in organ and tissue donor programs that will help give others a chance at living longer, healthy lives.
If you are thinking about registering to become an organ donor, here are some facts to consider:
There is no cost to a donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue donation;
It is possible to donate a kidney, partial liver, lung or pancreas as a living donor;
Most health conditions won’t disqualify you from being a donor; and
For every New Yorker who registers for the Donate Life Registry, up to 8 lives can be saved.
For more information on becoming an organ donor, and to sign up for the Donate Life Registry, visit my website at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.