October 10, 2019
Albany, NY

On Organ Donor Enrollment Day, Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Register as Organ Donors

TOP On Organ Donor Enrollment Day, Governor Cuomo...

2.5 Million New Enrollees Since New Initiatives Began in 2015


Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers Await a Life-Saving Transplant



On New York State Organ Donor Enrollment Day, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today urged New York State residents to register as organ donors through the newly-modernized New York State Donate Life Registry. According to the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are among the 113,000 Americans currently awaiting an organ transplant. Nationally, 20 people each day die 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 10 minutes, but one donor can save as many as eight lives.


"New York State has made it easier than ever to become an organ donor," Governor Cuomo said. "Now when you're signing up for health insurance or renewing your license, you have a chance to potentially save a life by simply checking a box."


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. That directive has helped to drive enrollment numbers through new portals such as the New York State of Health Insurance Marketplace, where 213,252 people have enrolled to become donors while purchasing or renewing their health insurance plans since the option was introduced in April 2017.


Registering through the DMV is one of the simplest ways to sign up to be part of the organ donor registry. As of this week, more than 5 million of the 5.9 million enrolled in the registry did so through the DMV. The DMV includes on its driver's license application and renewal forms the choice for New Yorkers to enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry. Under "Lauren's Law," named for Lauren Shields, a Rockland County resident who received a life-saving heart transplant at age 9, DMV customers are required to check one of two boxes related to organ donation for their driver's license or non-driver ID application to be processed. In 2017, 16-and 17-year-olds became able to register their consent to donate the first time they applied for their permit, driver's license or non-driver ID. As of this week, more than 60,665 people in this age group have signed up to become donors, and since 2015, these initiatives and legislative actions have in total yielded more than 2.6 million new donors. 


State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "We are working hard in New York State to increase the number of organ, eye and tissue donors. Through collaboration across state agencies, we are highlighting the need for life-saving organs and seizing on opportunities that put the choice to donate front-and-center for New Yorkers by reminding them during everyday activities of the importance of becoming an organ donor." 


Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "So many New Yorkers are awaiting life-saving organ transplants, so we encourage New Yorkers to consider registering as organ donors. DMV is proud to provide easily accessible ways for people to register. There is not a more precious gift you can give than the gift of life."


Customers can also continue to register as an organ donor by completing the donation section of their non-driver ID renewal application, by completing a voter registration form, or by visiting the DMV website at dmv.ny.gov. 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.


Donate Life New York State Executive Director Aisha Tator said, "There are thousands of New York's men, women and children currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. This annual event serves as a rallying cry to encourage New Yorkers to help save a life by enrolling as organ donors. Enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry is a way to ensure that individuals' wishes about donation after death will be clearly known and carried out."


LiveOnNY President & CEO Helen Irving said, "We know New Yorkers overwhelmingly support organ donation, so Organ Donor Enrollment Day is about turning that support into action and registering as many donors as possible. LiveOnNY is proud to partner with the DMV and the New York State Department of Health to educate our community about the incredible power of organ donation. I know our efforts today will go a long way to bring hope to the nearly 10,000 New Yorkers currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant."


Don't wait, enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry online today through the following online options:


Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office