April 12, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Over 5.6 Million New Yorkers Enrolled in State's Donate Life Registry as Organ Donors

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Over 5.6 Million New...

Landmarks Across New York to Be Lit Blue and Green Tonight in Honor of National Donate Life Month

Governor Cuomo Issues Proclamation Recognizing April as Donate Life Month


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than 5.6 million people have enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry as organ donors. Governor Cuomo has issued a proclamation recognizing April as Donate Life Month and announced that several landmarks across the state will be lit blue and green tonight in honor of National Donate Life Month and New York's Donate Life Blue and Green Day. Participating landmarks include One World Trade Center and the Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City, the SUNY Administration Building and Alfred E. Smith Office Building in Albany, the State Fairgrounds Entrance in Syracuse, Monroe County Community College in Rochester, the Schenectady Train Station and the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.


"New York is dedicated to expanding our organ donor registry and we are proud that over 5.6 million enrolled New Yorkers have committed to helping those who need it most," Governor Cuomo said. "Donate Life Blue and Green Day is an important reminder of the simple steps we can take to potentially save the lives of thousands of New Yorkers waiting for a transplant."  


According to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, more than 113,000 people nationwide are currently waiting for organ transplants. As of today, the total number is nearly 9,500 in New York State. Nearly 1,700 New Yorkers have been waiting more than five years for an organ transplant. On average, 22 people die every day in the United States from causes that are treatable with a donated organ. In addition, tissue donated by one person can positively affect the lives of more than 50 other people. 


Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State has taken several steps to increase enrollment in the New York State Donate Life Registry. These measures include:


  • The Department of Health worked with Donate Life New York State to launch a more modernized and expanded registry. Enhancements include a more accessible and user-friendly website and the ability to access the registry from multiple state websites to help streamline the registration process. The updated registry application better connects users and offers social media sharing options as well.
  • In October of 2017, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Health to work with the Transplant Council, Donate Life New York State, health care providers and hospital systems licensed to provide organ transplant services to develop opportunities to increase the number of registered organ donors in the state. The Executive Order also directed state agencies to work with the Department of Health to provide opportunities for individuals to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry when applying for government benefits, services, and licenses.
  • Since April 2017, individuals completing an application, renewing a plan, or making a life status change in NY State of Health, the official state health insurance marketplace, have the option of enrolling in the Donate Life Registry. As a result, more than 197,000 New Yorkers have enrolled.
  • As of February 2017, 16- and 17-year-olds can join the Donate Life Registry when they get their learner's permit, driver's license or non-driver identification card. Since its enactment, more than 57,000 16- and 17-year-olds have registered to become organ, eye and tissue donors.
  • Under "Lauren's Law," which was made permanent in 2017, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles includes on its license renewal form the choice for New Yorkers to enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry. Customers are required to check one of two boxes related to organ donation for their application to be processed. The law honors Lauren Shields, a Rockland County resident who received a life-saving heart transplant at age nine and who is now a formidable advocate for organ donation.


Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "One person who donates organs can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of more than two dozen people who are in vital need of an organ transplant. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and a continued collaboration among state agencies and our partners in the organ donation community, we are working to close the gap between the number of people waiting for a transplant and those receiving them."


Acting Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "We are thrilled to see so many landmarks that will be lit up for Blue and Green Day, and we are proud that DMV plays such a vital role in helping people to register as organ donors. We're also pleased to offer the Donate Life license plate not only to raise funds but to bring attention to the critical need for registered organ donors."


Donate Life custom plates are available from the Department of Motor Vehicles for New Yorkers interested in showing their support for the cause. When people purchase a plate, $20 of the annual fee supports the "LifePass It On Trust Fund," which supports organ donation and transplant research and educational programs promoting organ and tissue donation. You can order the plates here.


New Yorkers can enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry through the following online options:

  • The NYS Department of Health website - health.ny.gov
  • The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website - dmv.ny.gov 
  • The NYS Board of Elections website - elections.ny.gov 
  • When applying for a New York City Identification Card - nyc.gov
Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office