By Angelica Rodriguez, Syracuse N.Y. (NCC News) – It is national donors day and New York State is giving the opportunity for teenagers to register to donate organs.
Today is the first day New Yorkers as young as 16 years old can register to become eye, tissue or organ donors. Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed the legislation last summer but it went into effect today. Cuomo lowered the age of consent expecting this may help the almost 11 thousand patients waiting for an organ transplant in the state.
For some Syracuse teenagers like Garang Anyek, 17, a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles today means more than getting a drivers license.
“I came because I needed to get a permit but I might help as well,” said Anyek, “In case something happen, I can give my organ to whoever needs it.”
New York State has one of the nation’s lowest percentage of registered organ donors. According to the Director of Hospital Relations and Donor Awareness at the CNY Eye and Tissue Bank, Mark Kenville, this legislation change is big benefit for the whole nation because the lack of organ donors is a public health issue.
“There is a huge shortage of life saving organs, so the more people that are registered, the better the chances that they be able to provide an organ to someone in need,” explained Kenville.
New York was one of the four states where residents needed to be 18 years old in order to register as donors. Many of the teenagers interested in donating organs had to wait until they renewed their license, mostly into their 20s, to become official donors. Now, the new age range may potentially increase the number of donors in the state.
“I do not know how could I help the community and if I can not do something good, I might as well let my body and organs help out,” expressed Anyek.
Here are some alarming facts about organ donations:
- In New York State, someone dies every 18 hours waiting for an organ transplant.
- One organ and tissue donor can positively impact the lives of more than 50 other people.
- One person can donate up to eight organs .
- Every 10 minutes a person is added to a transplant waiting list.