Giving a second chance of life

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April is National Donate Life Month, a time for all Americans to celebrate the generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye, tissue, marrow, and blood donors ‑- and to encourage more Americans to follow their example.

There are currently over 107,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. It’s estimated that each day 22 Americans die while on the wait list for an organ transplant, and every 10 minutes another person is added to the national wait list. In the United States, the most commonly transplanted organs are the kidney, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas and intestines.

Here’s a poignant example of a family that was in need. The Frankfort (Ky.) State Journal reported this week that at a Kiwanis Club virtual meeting, a Kentucky mother shared the touching story of the 18-month wait she and her family endured while her young son, Jacob, who was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy, was on the list for a lifesaving heart transplant. Sarah Gilbert’s family never got the phone call that a heart was available, and Jacob passed away at age 4 on Sept. 14, 2012.

Oftentimes we hear about those who receive organ and tissue transplants in time to save their lives, but stories like Jacob’s are far too common.

Together we can save lives and shorten the amount of time those in need of organ and tissue transplants have to wait for lifesaving surgery. If you haven’t already, sign up to become an organ and tissue donor to give hope to patients like Jacob, whose young life could have been saved had a heart been found in time.

To learn more about New York State’s efforts to increase organ donations, check out the state’s website at www.donatelife.ny.gov.

New Yorkers have the power to donate life. All New Yorkers 16 years old and up can register to save lives by signing up as an organ and tissue donor. By joining the New York State Donate Life Registry, you record your decision to be a donor. Your kindness could save eight lives through organ donation, restore sight with cornea donations and improve 75 more lives with tissue. It is easy to register and you can give someone a second chance at life.

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