On April 27, 2010, nearly 120 people participated in the annual Legislative Education Day to highlight organ, eye and tissue donation in New York State. The event was sponsored by the New York Alliance for Donation, whose mission is to increase organ, eye and tissue donation throughout New York State.
The group included representatives of the State’s procurement organizations, other non-profit groups interested in donation and transplantation issues, volunteers, transplant recipients, living donors, and donor families. Volunteers personally visited with nearly half of New York’s 211 legislators or their staff to educate them about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation and share their experiences with donation. Packets of information about donation and transplantation were distributed to all legislators which highlighted the fact that 9,600 New Yorkers are on the waiting list for an organ and that only 1.9 million New Yorkers (out of a population of 19.3 million) are enrolled in the State Donate Life organ and tissue donor registry. The packets also included information on the benefits of transplantation and facts about donation.
Legislation highlighted included: legislation to permit an electronic signature to register consent to make an anatomical gift; legislation to update the New York State Anatomical Gift Act; legislation to provide consistency related to the Donate Life logo and language and make improvements in the Donate Life Registry; legislation to educate high school students about organ and tissue donation; legislation to allow taxpayers to donate $1 to the Life Pass It On Trust Fund through the State Income Tax form; and legislation to support legislation creating the New York State Organ Donor Awareness and Education Act. In addition, lawmakers were encouraged to take steps to increase donation by providing a link on their websites to the Donate Life Registry, distributing press releases highlighting April as Donate Life month, and providing information about organ, eye and tissue donation in their offices.
The day was a great celebration of life and our message was very well received by those we visited. A huge thank you to all who participated and helped out to make the day a success.