Organ and Tissue Donations
Donate Life The Next Time You Come To The Erie County Auto Bureau
CHECK THE BOX, SAVE A LIFE AND BE SOMEONE’S HERO!
~ Michael P. Kearns, Erie County Clerk
April is National Donate Life Month and my staff at the Erie County Auto Bureau are pleased to join in the effort to alert customers of the donor crises and encourage everyone to enroll in the Donate Life Registry. The average citizen gets very few chances to save the life of another. Through organ, eye, tissue and blood donation you can be someone’s hero. The Gift of Life comes in many different ways through many different stories, personalities, lives and backgrounds. Few things we leave behind in life could be as important.
As you read this, as many as 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a life-saving transplant, including close to 800 people here in Western New York. Thousands more are waiting for life-enhancing tissue and eye donations. Each year, approximately 500 men, women and children in New York State die due to the shortage of donors.
One person who donates organs (hearts, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines) can save up to eight lives, while a tissue or eye donor (corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons, veins, etc.) can improve more than 75 lives by restoring eyesight, helping fight infections in burn patients and preventing the loss of mobility and disability.
We are very proud that our Erie County Auto Bureau plays a significant role in saving lives through the New York State Donate Life Registry. I am pleased to report since 2017, over 185,000 Erie County motorists enrolled in the Donate Life Registry at the local Auto Bureau. Erie County has also surpassed the state-wide statistic by registering 55.7% of customers when they checked the box “YES” to this life-saving cause compared to 42.5% state-wide. These unprecedented enrollment numbers are something the staff of the Erie County Auto Bureau is very proud of!
I want to thank the staff of the Erie County Auto Bureau for their efforts in raising awareness and providing motorists with valuable information on the importance of organ, tissue and eye donation. Together with our community partners at Connect Life we have made substantial strides in the number of enrollments in Erie County, but we still have much work to do.
According to Connect Life, 80% of people that become organ donors register through their DMV. I encourage all motorists, age 16 and older, that come into any Erie County Auto Bureau office to enroll in the Donate Life Registry by adding the “Organ Donor” designation to your driver license or ID by checking “YES” and signing the New York State Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation consent on the application or renewal form.
By enrolling in the Donate Life Registry, you are giving legal consent for the recovery of your organs, tissues and eyes for the purposes of transplantation and research at the time of your death. To register as an organ and tissue donor, you must follow these important steps. Please remember that signing the back of your Driver's License is not enough! Although it is an act in support of donation, it does not enroll you in the electronic statewide database readily accessible by hospitals and procurement organizations.
STEP 1: Tell your family of your intention to donate. This is the most important step.
STEP 2: The next time you come to the Erie County Auto Bureau check the box and sign the organ donor consent certification on the forms used to apply or renew a driver license or non-driver identification card...IT'S THAT EASY!
When you enroll through this method, a symbol of a heart and the words "Organ Donor" will be printed on the front of your driver license or non-driver identification card at no extra cost. So when someone asks you: “Do you have a heart?” you can proudly answer: “YES!”
There are many myths and misperceptions about organ, eye, and tissue donation that prevent someone from signing up. Imagine the lives we could save if everyone took the time to learn the true facts about donation! I ask that during National Donate Life Month that you help bust the myths about organ donation—and help save lives—by learning and sharing some of these facts.
No one is too old or too sick to become a registered organ donor, all major religions support organ and tissue donation and view it as an act of love and generosity, people of different races and ethnicities frequently match each other, registering as a donor does not interfere with any form of medical care as donation only becomes an option after every effort is made to save your life death and there is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ donation.
The average citizen gets very few chances to be a hero and save the life of another person right here in our own community. Your decision can be a precious gift – the gift of life. Let's Donate Life, Erie County!
To learn more about saving lives through organ, eye, tissue and blood donation, please feel free to contact Connect Life Blood and Organ Donor Network at (716) 529-4300 or visit connectlife.org.