Over 6.6 Million New Yorkers Enrolled in State's Donate Life Registry as Organ Donors
Nearly 9,000 New Yorkers Await a Lifesaving Transplant
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New Yorkers to become organ and tissue donors by joining the NYS Donate Life Registry as nearly 9,000 New Yorkers await a lifesaving transplant. In recognition of Donate Life Blue and Green Day on Friday, April 16, landmarks across the state will be lit blue and green.
"Each life is precious, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unimaginable loss, it has also displayed the kindness and generosity of New Yorkers who took action to save lives," Governor Cuomo said. "Becoming an organ and tissue donor is not only a display of kindness, but saves lives and gives people waiting for a transplant a renewed chance at life. We're recognizing Donate Life Month and particularly Blue and Green Day to stand in solidarity with the thousands of New Yorkers still waiting for an organ transplant."
The landmarks being lit include:
- Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
- Kosciuszko Bridge
- H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
- New York State Education Department Building
- Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
- New York State Fairgrounds - Main Gate and Exposition Center
- Niagara Falls
- Albany International Airport Gateway
- Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct
New Yorkers can raise awareness and motivate others to register as organ donors by wearing blue and green on April 16 and using the hashtags #BlueGreenDay and #DonateLifeMonth and on their social media platforms. In the spirit of the day, NYS DMV staff will wear blue and green on Friday.
More than 8,700 New Yorkers are among the 107,587 Americans currently awaiting an organ transplant, according to the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. In addition, almost 600 New Yorkers died last year because the organ they needed was not available in time, according to the OPTN. Nationally, 17 people die each day while awaiting a match for a transplant, according to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. A person is added to the wait list every nine minutes, but one donor can save as many as eight lives and heal up to 75 lives through tissue and corneal donation. Any New Yorker age 16 and older is eligible to enroll in the Registry. Currently, 43 percent of eligible New York State residents have enrolled to be organ donors through the Registry.
New Yorkers can enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry through the following online options:
- The NYS Donate Life Registry website - www.donatelife.ny.gov
- The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website - dmv.ny.gov
Under "Lauren's Law," DMV customers can also continue to register as organ donors by completing the donation section of their driver's license or non-driver ID renewal application. The law is named for Lauren Shields, a Rockland County resident who received a life-saving heart transplant at nine years of age. New Yorkers registering to vote can join the Registry by completing that section of the voter registration form or online form at https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/voteregform-eng-fillable.pdf. New Yorkers seeking health insurance through the NY State of Health Insurance Marketplace can enroll in the Registry as well.
DMV also offers a Donate Life custom license plate to raise awareness and support critical research. When a consumer orders the plate, $20 of the annual fee is directed to the "Life Pass It On Trust Fund," which is used for organ donation and transplant research and educational programs promoting organ and tissue donation. Plates can be ordered on the DMV website at https://dmv.ny.gov/plates/life-pass-it.
Starting in 2020, the Life Pass It On Trust Fund was added to the charitable causes that New Yorkers can contribute to when filing their personal income taxes. The money in this fund is used to support donation and transplant related education and research as well as operation of the NYS Donate Life Registry.
Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order in 2017 that made increasing the number of registered organ donors a priority, directing the State Health Department to work with all state agencies, Donate Life NYS and other partners, to provide the public with additional opportunities to register as organ donors through the NYS Donate Life Registry. New Yorkers also have the option of becoming organ donors when applying for various licenses or certifications from the Department of State, as well as the Department of Health. New Yorkers may also become an organ donor through the New York State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace when applying for health insurance.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Our fight against COVID-19 has taught us how truly valuable life is and the decision to become an organ donor is truly one of the most important and selfless decisions a person can make. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and a continued collaboration among state agencies and our partners in the organ donation community, we are actively working increase the number of organ donors in New York State."
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on all facets of the health care system, including organ donation, and there is a growing need for more donors. Blue and Green Day serves as a reminder of the thousands of New Yorkers awaiting a life-saving transplant. The DMV is proud to shine a light on this important cause and serve as an avenue for potential donors to join the registry. Our staff will be wearing blue and green to show our support."
Donate Life New York State Executive Director Aisha Tator said, "New York is a giving community. Through organ and tissue donation, all New Yorkers have the power to give hope to those in need and to save and improve lives. We are grateful for our partnerships with the Governor, the Department of Health, and the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Legislature, who all work to promote enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry on Blue and Green Day and throughout the year."