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7,724,437 New Yorkers have joined the NYS Donate Life Registry

Donate Life NYS Holds Donate Life Month Press Conference and Annual Legislative Education Event

On April 16, 2024, Donate Life New York State hosted its annual Legislative Education Event. Dedicated volunteers from across the state gathered in Albany to educate lawmakers about crucial donation-related legislation being advanced in 2024.

The highlight of the day was the inaugural Donate Life Month Legislative Press Conference, a deeply impactful occasion that resonated with the dozens of legislators present. Families and lawmakers touched by donation courageously shared their stories of loss and resilience, eliciting tears and empathy from all attendees.

Aisha Tator, Executive Director of Donate Life New York State, emphasized the urgent need for increased donor registration in New York. Despite notable progress, the state still falls behind the national average, requiring approximately 2.5 million more registrations to achieve the desired 64 percent mark.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assemblymember Philip Palmesano hosted the press conference, drawing from their personal experiences with donation and transplantation. Peoples-Stokes shared the story of her daughter, a kidney transplant recipient who gained four precious years of life thanks to a selfless donor. Palmesano recounted his sister’s journey as a two-time kidney recipient, with himself serving as her donor in 2006.

Assemblyman Robert Smullen also attended, sharing a deeply moving account of tragedy and generosity. Despite the heartbreaking loss of his son A.J. in a tragic accident, Smullen found solace in knowing that A.J.’s organs brought newfound hope to five families across New York.

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy spoke candidly about her own loss, having recently experienced the passing of her son Brendan Fahy Bequette, whose corneas were donated upon his death.

Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia recounted the challenges her family faced as her three young sons battled kidney disease and their eventual requirement for transplants. Her eldest son, who has undergone two kidney transplants and is now a young adult, recently celebrated the joyous milestone of becoming a father. Tapia’s youngest son is currently awaiting his transplant.

Assemblymember Ari Brown shared his perspective as a living donor. Brown, who already had a regular history of donating blood, donated one of his kidneys last year to a Purple Heart recipient in need of a transplant.

In addition to the press conference, more than 60 legislative offices were visited throughout the day, further amplifying the message of donation advocacy and legislative support. Teams led by donation professionals from various organizations across the state delved into intricate policy matters, while mission-driven volunteers shared their personal journeys, vividly illustrating the transformative impact of donation and transplantation. Through heartfelt narratives, they emphasized the profound difference donation can make in the lives of individuals and families.

The event served as a poignant reminder of the lifechanging potential of donation and reinforced Donate Life New York State’s steadfast commitment to nurturing a culture of generosity and compassion.

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