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  • Writer's pictureKidney Foundation of WNY

New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Minority Donor Awareness Month

In recognition of National Minority Donor Awareness Month, the New York State Department of Health encourages organ, eye and tissue donations in diverse communities. The National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program founded the observance in 1996 to provide donation education and encourage donor registration in minority communities.

"Because of ongoing health disparities, minority communities face higher rates of conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, which can lead to organ failure and the need for a transplant," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "It's crucial that communities of all races, backgrounds, and ethnicities are informed about organ donations and their impacts on saving lives."

As of August 2023, there are approximately 8,000 people waiting to receive a life-saving organ transplant. Nearly 7,000 are waiting for a kidney, while 566 people are waiting for a liver and 304 people are waiting for a heart. Additional people are waiting for a pancreas, lung, intestine, or organ combination such as heart/lung or kidney/pancreas.

Just one organ donor can save up to eight lives, while eye and tissue donors can improve the health and lives of up to 75 people in need. Tissue transplants can be used for breast reconstruction for cancer survivors, save the lives of burn victims, or allow someone to walk again.

Donors can determine what they want to give, including specific organs and tissues, as well as identify whether the donation is for transplant, research, or both.

By joining the registry, New Yorkers can donate organs, eyes, and tissues, including:

  • Organs: Heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines.

  • Tissues: Eyes, corneas, skin, bone, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, cartilage, and connective tissues.

All New Yorkers 16 and older can register to save lives by enrolling through the New York State Donate Life Registry or through or through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The registration database is confidential, and individuals can access their registration at any time to make changes.

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