ROSCOE — If it was within your power to save someone's life, would you do it? That was the question posed to high school students on Friday by Donate Life, a national coalition of organizations …
ROSCOE — If it was within your power to save someone's life, would you do it? That was the question posed to high school students on Friday by Donate Life, a national coalition of organizations promoting organ donation.
In February, Governor Cuomo announced a law that makes 16 and 17-year-old eligible to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. "This awareness event marks the first time that some of our students, young adults aged 16 and 17, can join the registry thanks to the passage of a new law that has removed barriers to fulfill an important community responsibility, signing up as an organ, eye and tissue donor,” said Roscoe, Downsville and Livingston Manor Schools District Superintendent John Evans. “Donate Life Month seems like the ideal time to engage our students in taking steps toward reducing the number of people waiting for a transplant to save their life, restore mobility or regain their sight.”
The passage of the law prompted Evans to team up with the New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD), the Center for Donation and Transplant (CDT) and Sullivan County Treasurer and living donor Nancy Buck to educate students and the public about the critical need for organ, eye and tissue donation.
The legislation enables teenagers to enroll in the registry at the same time they first apply for a driver license, learner permit or non-driver ID, potentially increasing enrollments in New York by thousands.
“We want the students to share what they learn with their families and have discussions about these important decisions,” said Buck. “As important as it is to register to become a donor, it is equally important for family members and friends to understand a potential donor's feelings and wishes.”
According to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, more than 118,000 people nationwide are currently on the waiting list for organ transplants, close to 10,000 in New York State alone. On an average day 22 people die in the United States from causes that could have been treated with a donated organ.
Tissue donated by just one person has the potential to impact the lives of more than 50 people.
“I would venture to guess that everyone here either has someone in their family or knows someone who is alive today because of someone else's decision to become an organ donor,” Evans told students. “And a donation isn't always the result of someone else's untimely death.
Buck knows that first hand. She donated a kidney to her then boss Ira Cohen back in 2013.