Advocates of organ donation Tuesday announced two events to encourage people to help save the lives of their fellow New Yorkers.
Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Town Council members Joan Cergol and Mark Cuthbertson, along with Dr. Michael Grosso, a pediatrician and chief medical officer at Huntington Hospital, announced the campaign to register potential donors and plans for a 5k race.
They noted that New York State ranks last in registering donors. To address the shortcoming, the hospital will host the 5th annual Live On New York Organ Donation Day on Thursday. A recent study found that 92 percent of New Yorkers support organ and tissue donation, but only 35 percent of New Yorkers are registered as donors.
The 5k race is scheduled for April 19 in Greenlawn.
“It’s just shocking in a state like this that is so progressive, and so forward thinking, so charitable and so altruistic on so many levels that we have this real black mark on our state,” Cuthbertson said, nothing that years ago, his son had received a bone marrow transplant for aplastic anemia and survived.
He said a patient in New York State could wait an average of seven years for an organ donation.
Grosso said, “We know that there’s a major need that we need to address,” referring to the 10,000 New Yorkers awaiting transplants. He invited residents to visit the hospital throughout the day Thursday for information on becoming a donor and said the hospital encourages people to “Become a part of this in any way you can.”
The hospital’s healthcare professionals have also formed a Donor Council, a hospital-based group that is committed to donation initiatives, and Grosso said doctors discuss organ donations with their patients on a regular basis.
Also speaking was Christian Siems, a Greenlawn resident who received a heart transplant in April 2015, donated by the family of a Marine. “I thank Nick (the donor) every day for giving me all the extra days that I have. I hope everyone can register to be an organ donor and hopefully save more lives.”