‘Donate Life’ Flag Flies Over Huntington to Encourage Organ Donations

A ‘Donate Life’ flag was raised at the Village Green in Huntington Thursday to celebrate and encourage organ and tissue donations.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson led others at a press conference to boost the rate of organ and tissue donations in New York State, which has  the lowest donation rate in the country.  April is Donate Life Month.

 “The Donate Life flag will fly throughout the month of April and serve as a tribute to those who have either donated their organs and those who have received the life-saving transplants,” Cuthbertson said.

Lisa Karrer and her partner, Deborah Porreto, who until recently, ran Brett’s Bicycle Recycle to donate hundreds of bikes to those in need, were on hand to promote donations. They donated the organs of Lisa’s brother, Brett Rainey, after he was killed in a crash in 2015. 

Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Town Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Town Clerk Andrew Raia, Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman and highway superintendent Kevin Orelli, were also on hand to promote the cause, as were transplant recipients Christian Siems, Emily Briggs and Ed Schaffer,  and representatives Karen Cummings LiveOnNY and Dr. Ron Jacobs of Be the Match.

“We need to do better for the 10,000 New Yorkers waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant,” Lupinacci said. “Anyone age 16 or older can donate organs and no one is too old or sick to donate because doctors test all potential donors to ensure donated organs and tissues are safe for transplant.”

For Cuthbertson, the issue is personal. His son Aidan was able to contribute bone marrow when Cuthbertson’s other son Hunter was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, thus saving his life.

“We’ve been very active trying to change the statistics here in the Town of Huntington by raising awareness with events like this,” Cuthbertson said.

Cuthbertson awarded proceeds from last year’s ‘5K Run to Save
Lives’ to three organizations: LiveOnNY, Be the Match, and Team Liberty.

“In recognition of Organ Donation Awareness Month, I am proud to join Councilman Cuthbertson in flying the Donate Life flag in celebration of those who have saved lives and as a reminder for the need for new donors to save the lives of the thousands of New Yorkers awaiting transplant,”  Cergol said.

To sign up to become a donor, go to LiveOnNY.org, or at
dmv.ny.gov. To become a bone marrow donor, go to BeTheMatch.org.

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