Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange), heart transplant recipient Lauren Shields, members of the New York City Council and state Assembly, Save Lives Now New York Foundation, and other organ donation advocates from across the state recently gathered to raise awareness about New York State’s shortage of organ donations.
There are more than 10,000 New Yorkers waiting for an organ transplant and last year only 929 donations were made. Last year, 577 New Yorkers died while on the transplant waiting list. New Yorkers have to wait longer for a transplant than recipients in other states because of the low number of registered donors. Nationwide 42 percent of the population is registered as organ donors, compared to only 18 percent in New York State.
A law pending in the New York state legislature would make it easier for people to become organ donors.Known as Lauren’s Law it was named after , the 12-year-old heart transplant recipient who has become a committed campaigner and staunch advocate to raise awareness about the need for organ and tissue donors. The law would require driver’s license and voter registration applicants to either elect or decline organ donor registration.
Shields shared with the crowd at New York City Hall how terrifying that wait can be.
“The waiting is a very scary time no matter how old you are or the type of organ you are waiting for,” she says. “You go to sleep hoping that the call will come but when you open your eyes in the morning you realize it didn’t.”
"It is absolutely imperative that we pass Lauren's Law so that more people have a greater chance to obtain a life-saving organ donation in New York," said State Senator David Carlucci, author of the bill. "Lauren Shields' story is a powerful testament to the critical nature of this life and death issue. It is my hope that her passion and persistence translates into legislative action in the halls of Albany, and throughout the nation as a whole."
“The 10,000 New Yorkers currently on the waiting list are literally in a life-and-death waiting game,” said Rocco Andriola, Chairman of Save Lives Now New York Foundation. “Unfortunately, our state ranks second from the bottom in the U.S. in donor registrations. We firmly believe that Lauren’s Law is a major step in the right direction in an effort to address the severe organ shortage crisis.”
Save Lives Now New York is the only organization in the state focused on developing innovative public policy initiatives to significantly increase the supply of organs available for transplant. Save Lives Now New York Foundation, Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit.