Non-profit LiveOnNY held Organ Donor Enrollment Day last week, an 8-hour campaign aimed at enrolling as many organ donors in the New York area as possible.
New Yorkers should not wait passively to find these events in order to sign up as organ donors. Registration is easy and open year-long through websites such as OrganDonor.org or LongLiveNY.org. We can also become donors when we get our driver’s license.
There is an urgent need for organ donors in New York. The state’s demand for transplantable organs has long surpassed availability. That is because only 24% of the state’s residents are registered, while the national rate is 50%. That means that we are at the bottom of the list.
Specialists say that, while some 10,000 people in New York are waiting for an organ to save their life, the state had only 261 available donors last year. Even worse, it is estimated that nearly 17 patients die every day in New York awaiting a transplant.
This is a reality that we Latinos must take into account. In New York, a large number of the people who are in urgent need of a transplant are Hispanics suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, which cause kidney and liver failure.
According to LiveOnNY, of these 10,000 people, 81% are Hispanics who need a kidney.
That is why we are calling on our community to get informed, educated and aware of this problem. We know that there is goodwill, but we must move past fear, myths, prejudice and beliefs.
Remember: If you donate your organs when you die, you may save up to 8 people, and your tissue may improve the lives of 50 others. We encourage you to give the gift of life.