As more than 10,000 New Yorkers wait for a life-saving organ transplant, the New York Organ Donor Network (NYODN) today announced that it is launching an exciting and unprecedented campaign as part of an ongoing effort to increase organ donor enrollments in New York. The campaign will launch in April which is National Donate Life Month, a time set aside to raise awareness for organ donation and to honor those who have given the gift of life.
Here in New York, someone dies every 15 hours waiting for an organ transplant. And currently, only 21% of eligible New Yorkers (age 18 and older) are enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry (compared to the national average of 44.5%). NYODN is urging New Yorkers to change the statistics and to enroll, as just one organ donor alone can save up to eight lives.
“We are excited to announce this new campaign which will educate the public about the critical need for organ donors in New York. It is our hope that these efforts will ultimately help thousands of people in need of life-saving transplants,” said Helen Irving, CEO and President of NYODN. “Our goal is to reach as many New Yorkers as possible, and to share that the time is now to register to save lives.”
According to a study conducted in 2010, 83% of New Yorkers support organ, eye, and tissue donation, yet many have not taken the step to do so. This initiative includes new collaboration with government agencies, public libraries, and private businesses to provide New Yorkers information as well as opportunities to enroll.
For the first time, with support from the New York State Department of Health (DOH), NYODN has forged a partnership with the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Library systems. Beginning on April 1 and running throughout the month, the three systems will be sharing information about organ donation via flyers, posters, bookmarks, and table tent cards, as well as making available organ donor enrollment forms to library-goers.
The State Health Department is committed to increasing the number of enrolled organ donors across the state," State Health Commissioner, Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said. "Providing New Yorkers with more opportunities to register as donors is essential to saving more lives. There is no greater act of generosity than upon one's death, giving life to others."
Additionally, the iconic Zaro’s Bakery has joined the efforts to raise awareness for the cause. Across store locations, Zaro’s will be promoting organ donation on packaging as well as in store displays such as posters and point-of-sale signage. When a customer enrolls on-site to be an organ donor, Zaro’s will even provide a free cup of coffee. At the end of the month, Zaro’s also plans to donate baked goods to the families of patients waiting for an organ transplant at various transplant centers across greater New York.
The Brooklyn Nets have also teamed up with NYODN to help promote organ donation to fans and game attendees. Throughout the month, a “Be a Game Changer” sweepstakes will be running whereby fans can enter to receive cool prizes online. A special entrance to the Barclays Center will also be available for fans who can demonstrate they are an organ donor at the April 6th, 9th, 15th, and 17th games.
Other efforts also include an aggressive outreach campaign occurring at 26 Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) locations. Currently, more than 95% of all enrollments in the New York State Donor Registry occur at the DMV. NYODN volunteers and staff will be stationed at DMVs throughout the month of April. Volunteers will engage DMV customers to share personal stories of how organ donation has affected them positively, and encourage customers to make the choice to become an organ donor. Hospitals in the New York metropolitan area will also have tabling events where patients and visitors may register.
Several community events will also provide opportunities for enrollment and will occur over the course of Donate Life Month. Some of these include:
April 5th: Orange Country Legislature to Announce April as Donate Life Month in Orange County – Goshen, NY
April 6th: Brooklyn Nets Hosts “Donate Life Night” at Barclays Center – Brooklyn
April 7th: Shakonna Grier Memorial 4 Mile Run – East Islip, NY
April 13th: 7th Annual Marcie Mazzola Memorial 5K Run/Walk – Huntington, NY
April 16th: New York City Fund for Public Schools and the Janine Brawer
Scholarship Foundation Announce Scholarship Winner- New York, NY
To register to be an organ donor, or to learn more about NYODN please visit www.SaveLivesNewYork.org.
About the New York Organ Donor Network
The New York Organ Donor Network (NYODN) is the nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the greater New York Metropolitan area. Established in 1978, NYODN is the second largest OPO in the United States, serving a culturally and ethnically diverse population of 13 million people. Working closely with transplant centers and hospitals, NYODN coordinates organ, tissue, and eye donation for transplant in the New York region; educates the public and health care professionals about donation and transplantation; promotes the importance of signing up on the New York State Donate Life Registry. The organization works closely with 10 transplant centers, more than 90 hospitals, and various tissue and eye banks. NYODN is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which oversees the organ transplant waiting list in the U.S.