ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Friday marks Donate Life Day to highlight the importance of organ donations and transplants across the nation.
According to the New York State Department of Health, 22 people on average die every day from causes which could have been treated with a donated organ.
"It's something a lot of people don't want to think about because you are really thinking about your own death when you make that decision," New York State Assemblyman, Phil Palmesano said. "What I try and tell people is that 'you never know when one of your loved ones might be in need of a life saving organ transplant."
Organ donations are a topic that hits close to home for Palmesano.
"My sister Teresa is a two time organ transplant recipient," Palmesano said. "Once from the kindness of a stranger and once I had the privilege to donate a kidney to her. And, what I saw first hand is how organ donation can improve the quality of life of an individual or save a life."
"To actually be able to supply that need, to actually volunteer part of oneself to another person, is, I think, a very important act of kindness," supporter of organ donors, Luke Rondinaro said.
To put the issue in perspective, more than 118,000 people nationwide are currently waiting for an organ transplant. In New York the numbers aren't pretty.
"We have nearly 10,000 New Yorkers right now waiting for an organ transplant," Palmesano said. "1,700 of them have been waiting for more than five years and if you look at the statistics, the national average for donation is about 50%. The state of Montana is number one at 87%. New York State is at 28%."
If you're interested in becoming an organ donor, you can find more information on donation and transplants at he following links:
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