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New York Alliance for Donation Applauds Reforms to Organ and Tissue Donation Law

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October 27, 2015

CONTACT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2015
Aisha Tator
518-326-3237
atator@alliancefordonation.org

PDF of press release

On behalf of the donation community, the New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD) applauds the Governor and State Legislature for taking decisive steps to achieve full implementation of Lauren's Law that will ensure New Yorkers consider enrollment in the state's organ and tissue donor registry. 

In 2012, Lauren's Law, named after a young girl, Lauren Shields, whose life was saved by a heart transplant, was created with the intent to require driver license applicants to actively choose whether they would like to become a registered organ, eye and tissue donor on the New York State Donate Life Registry. However, because the statute did not invalidate an application that left the organ and tissue donation section blank, it has not resulted in as much of a change in the administrative processes at the Department of Motor Vehicles as had been hoped. The legislation Governor Cuomo signed into law yesterday would fulfill the intent of Lauren's Law and prevent any driver license, non-driver identification, or renewal, application from being processed without the organ and tissue donation section being completed—thus ensuring New Yorkers are offered the opportunity to give the gift of life.

"It is extremely important to NYAD to have the statute's original goal restored this year. Lauren's Law is lifesaving when used as intended and I'm glad that our elected officials recognize this. There are far too many New Yorkers in need of organ, eye, and tissue donations. It's our hope that requiring the section regarding organ and tissue donation be completed on all driver license or non-driver identification applications and renewals will motivate more New Yorkers to seriously consider signing up as a donor" stated NYAD's Executive Director, Aisha Tator.

"I am enormously grateful that the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo listened to my daughter's story and to the stories of countless others waiting for a lifesaving transplant and strengthened Lauren's Law. The journey to an organ transplant is long, and other families should not have to go through this struggle. Each individual donor is crucial. If this legislation encourages even one more person to register as a donor, my daughter and I will be thankful," said Lauren's mother, Jeanne Shields.

"Thank you to Governor Cuomo and members of the Senate and Assembly for their efforts to ensure Lauren's Law is working the way my family intended. It has been our goal to help educate New Yorkers about the wonderful gift of organ donation. We believe this law will save thousands of lives in New York. I vow to continue to share my story in hopes of inspiring people so they choose 'yes' to saving lives," said Lauren Shields.

Currently, one New Yorker dies every fifteen hours while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant due to low participation in the New York State Donate Life Registry. With only 25% of the population enrolled in the registry, New York State currently ranks second to last in donor designation share in the nation. By allowing applicants to ignore the organ, eye and tissue donor registration section, New York State was missing an important opportunity to educate the public about the option available to donate their organs and tissues and give the gift of life by enrolling as an organ, eye and tissue donor on the New York State Donate Life Registry.

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New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of organ and tissue recovery organizations throughout New York State, health professionals and individuals whose lives have been affected by donation. NYAD's mission is to increase organ, eye and tissue donation through collaborative, advocacy, education, promotion and research. Our goal is to ensure every New Yorker in need of a transplant receives one.