Organ and Tissue Donations
Donate Life The Next Time You Come To The Erie County Auto Bureau
CHECK THE BOX, SAVE A LIFE AND BE SOMEONE’S HERO!
~ Michael P. Kearns, Erie County Clerk
April is National Donate Life Month and my staff at the Erie County Auto Bureau are pleased to join in the effort to alert our customers of the donor crises and encourage everyone to enroll in the Donate Life Registry. The average citizen gets very few chances to save the life of another. Through organ and tissue donation you can. The Gift of Life comes in many different ways through many different stories, personalities, lives and backgrounds. Few things we leave behind in life could be as important.
As you read this, close to 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for lifesaving organs, including over 800 right here in Western New York. Thousands more are waiting for life enhancing tissue and eye donations, with 118 people added to the national organ transplant waiting list on a daily basis.
One person who donates organs (hearts, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines) can save up to eight lives, while a tissue or eye donor (corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons, veins, etc.) can improve more tha 75 lives by restoring eyesight, helping fight infections in burn patients and preventing the loss of mobility and disability.
The good news is that every day approximately 74 individuals will get a new lease on life by receiving an organ transplant. We are very proud that our Erie County Auto Bureau plays a significant role in saving lives through the New York State Donate Life Registry. I am pleased to report over the last year (April 2018-March 2019) 42,509 Erie County motorists enrolled in the Donate Life Registry through their local Auto Bureau. Erie County has also surpassed the state-wide statistic by registering close to 47.4% of all adults over age 18 when they checked the box “YES” to this life-saving cause as only 35.2% of all adults state-wide have said “YES” to donation and joined the New York State Donate Life Registry. Lastly, since 2014, we have signed on approximately 160,000 new organ donors which is unprecedented and something of which the staff of the Erie County Auto Bureau should be very proud!
We want to thank the thousands of motorists who made the choice to check the box YES and be someone's hero! Presently close to 300,000 Erie County residents have enrolled in the registry since its inception. According to Unyts, 80% of people that become organ donors register through their DMV. But we can do more. Disappointingly, New York State has the third highest need for donors in the country and has the lowest percentage of registered donors nationwide with only 26% of individuals 18 and older who have joined the New York State Donate Life Organ and Tissue Donation Registry.
A new law implemented in 2017 also positively impacted enrollments by lowering the age of eligibility to join the Registry from 18 to 16. Currently, more than 55,000 16 and 17-year-olds have enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry by checking “yes” and signing the New York State Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation consent on any driver license or non-driver identification application or renewal form. When you enroll through this method, a symbol of a heart and the words "Organ Donor" will be printed on the front of your driver license or non-driver identification card at no extra cost.
I encourage all motorists that come into any of the Erie County Auto Bureau offices to enroll in the Donate Life Registry by adding the “Organ Donor” designation to your Driver’s license or ID by completing an MV-44 and simply signing the “New York State Organ and Tissue Donation” consent box on any license or non-driver ID application.
By enrolling in the Donate Life Registry, you are giving legal consent for the recovery of your organs, tissues and eyes for the purposes of transplantation and research at the time of your death. To register as an organ and tissue donor, you must follow these important steps. Please remember that signing the back of your Driver's License is not enough! Although it is an act in support of donation, it does not enroll you in the electronic statewide database readily accessible by hospitals and procurement organizations.
STEP 1: Tell your family of your intention to donate. This is the most important step.
STEP 2: The next time you come to the Erie County Auto Bureau check the box and sign the organ donor consent certification on the forms used to apply or renew a driver license or non-driver identification card...IT'S THAT EASY!
When you enroll through this method, a symbol of a heart and the words "Organ Donor" will be printed on the front of your driver license or non-driver identification card at no extra cost. So when someone asks you: “Do you have a heart?” you can proudly answer: “YES!”
The average citizen gets very few chances to save the life of another. Together through organ, eye and tissue donation, you can be a hero. With the simple act of checking a box on a form when you visit the Auto Bureau, at minimum a single life could be saved. I urge our community to educate yourself so you can make an informed decision. Help us to ensure that every person waiting for a transplant receives one. Your decision can be a precious gift – the gift of life. Let's Donate Life, Erie County!
To learn more about saving lives through organ, eye, tissue and blood donation, please feel free to contact Unyts at (716) 853-6667 or visit www.unyts.org.