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Chemung County Clerk Katie Hughes and the County License Bureau is partnering with New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD) and the New York State Association of Counties to urge Chemung County residents to learn more about organ, eye, and tissue donation during Donate Life Month and the importance of enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry as a way to document themselves as designated donors.
During the entire month of April, the Chemung County License Bureau will be filled with promotional items that urge New Yorkers to make a difference and give the gift of life by registering as donors. 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.
"I want to let residents know they can do this easily when they renew their drivers' license or non-driver ID, or when registering to vote. No one really knows when we, or a loved one, may need a transplant to survive, or tissue to repair injury or treat disease," said Ms. Hughes. "The Registry is a way to ensure that an individual's wishes about donation will be known at the time of their death. Currently, only 39% of all adults over the age of 18 in Chemung County are registered donors, compared to the national average of more than 50%," added Ms. Hughes.
According to Aisha Tator, NYAD Executive Director, "Nationally, the current waiting list for organs has reached over 123,000 people. Every 13 minutes another person is added to the list and an average of 21 people die each day waiting. In New York alone, the number of men, women and children waiting for a transplant is over 10,000. In 2013, just 356 New Yorkers donated lifesaving organs at the time of their death, and an additional 499 were living donors. Nationally in 2014, 8,268 people donated at the time of their deaths and 5,988 people became living donors in that year. By donating at the time of his or her death, a single person may help as many as 50 people."
With the need for donations so great, Ms. Hughes is encouraging even those individuals who want to be a donor but it is not yet the time to renew their license to come to the License Bureau and sign the organ donor consent certification and get a new license with a symbol of a red heart and the words "Organ Donor" printed on the front of the driver license or non-driver identification card at no cost. Residents can also make a voluntary $1 contribution to organ transplant research and education and donation promotion projects by checking off the box on their drivers' license or non-driver ID application or renewal form.
The New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD) is a not-for-profit with a mission to increase organ, eye and tissue donation in New York State through collaborative advocacy, education, promotion, and research. Our goal is to ensure a transplant for every New Yorker in need. NYAD is comprised of the four organ procurement organizations, four eye and tissue banks and/or processors, and affiliates, including dedicated donation and transplantation professionals.