Weekly Feature

2017-04-19 / Local News

Erie County Auto Bureau encourages life-saving donations

The Erie County Clerk’s Office is again teaming up with Unyts and the New York Alliance for Donation during Donate Life Month to increase enrollment in the New York state Donate Life Registry. Donate Life Month is a national month-long observance aimed at raising public awareness of the critical need for organ, eye, and tissue donation, as nearly 10,000 New Yorkers currently wait for transplants.

During the month of April, all Erie County Auto Bureau offices will be encouraging their customers to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation and the impact it has on thousands of New Yorkers. Enrolling in the Donate Life Registry is a way to ensure that an individual’s wishes about donation will be known at the time of their death.

“DMV offices are on the frontlines of this battle. This is where New Yorkers can make the important decision to be a hero to a person in need and give the gift of life,” said Aisha Tator, executive director of NYAD. “Promoting organ donation in the DMV offices during Donate Life Month will make a huge impact on enrollment numbers. The more awareness we build around donations, the more lives we can save and improve.”

New York has the third highest need for donors in the country, yet the second lowest percentage of registered donors. Out of the approximately 10,000 New Yorkers on the waiting list, over 1,800 have been waiting for life-saving and improving transplants for more than 5 years. Each year, an estimated 500 men, women and children in the state die because to the shortage of donors.

Over the last few years Erie County Auto Bureau has signed up over 50,000 individuals to the New York state Donor Registry, significantly increasing the number of registrants in comparison to past years. Currently there are 282,838 individuals enrolled in the NYS Donor Registry countywide. In 2016, 71 percent of all enrollments in the registry were done so through DMV locations; over 3.5 million have registered as organ donors statewide.

“These numbers are significant because they have a great potential to save lives,” said Acting County Clerk Peggy LaGree. “Through the simple act of checking a box on a form when you visit the DMV, a life could be saved.”

New Yorkers age 16 and older can enroll at their local auto bureau by checking “yes” and signing the New York State Organ and Tissue Donation consent on any driver license or non-driver identification application or renewal form. When you enroll through this method, a symbol of a heart and the words "Organ Donor" will be printed on the front of your driver license or non-driver identification card at no extra cost.

The Clerk’s office and Auto Bureau staff are proud to continue in the effort to alert our customers of the donor crisis and encourage everyone to enroll in the Donate Life Registry. This April, celebrate Donate Life Month by educating yourself and making an informed decision.

For further questions on how to enroll in the New York state Donate Life Organ and Tissue Donor Registry, contact the Erie County Auto Bureau’s Call Center at 858-7450. For additional information on organ donation visit www.nydrivers4life.com or www.unyts.org.

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