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7,746,002 New Yorkers have joined the NYS Donate Life Registry

Buffalo Community Honors Life-Saving Legacy of Local Organ Donor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2024

CONTACT: Madeleine Rosen, donatelifenys@berlinrosen.com, 347.809.0791

Buffalo Community Honors Life-Saving Legacy of Local Organ Donor

Four months after the loss of West Herr Jeep General Manager Brian Cosen, his wife joined advocates and officials to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and encourage fellow New Yorkers to give the gift of life

Buffalo, NY (May 23, 2024) – Leadership from Donate Life New York State, the West Herr Automotive Group, and ConnectLife, along with New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark Schroeder and the New York State Automobile Dealers Association today joined Buffalo residents in raising awareness about the life-changing impact of organ, eye, and tissue donation. The press conference honored the life and legacy of Brian Cosen – the late General Manager of West Herr Jeep – who selflessly chose to give the ultimate gift by being an organ donor.

“What was the worst day in our lives was the best day for two other families, and that brings us a small sense of comfort,” said Maria Cosen, Wife of Brian Cosen. “Brian’s selflessness has inspired many in our family, myself included, to register to be an organ donor. We hope Brian inspires you to register as well, as he truly is our hero.”

More than 103,000 Americans, including nearly 8,000 New Yorkers, are currently on the waitlist for a life-changing organ. While organ donation saved nearly 3,600 New Yorkers in 2023, roughly 400 people on the transplant waitlist die each year due to a shortage of donors. Over the past decade, Donate Life NYS has more than doubled the number of organ donors in New York – from 21% in 2013, to 48% today – but New York still trails far behind the national average of 64%.

“There’s no better way to honor Brian’s legacy than by encouraging New Yorkers to follow in his selfless, life-saving footsteps,” said Aisha Tator, Executive Director of Donate Life New York State. “I’m honored to be here today alongside Brian’s wife, Maria, to raise awareness about the critical importance of organ donation. One donor has the potential to save 8 lives and heal 75 more through eye and tissue donation. I believe in the generosity of New Yorkers, and I know that the more work we do to spread this message, the closer we’ll get to accomplishing our mission of ensuring a life-changing transplant for every New Yorker in need.”

New Yorkers can register to become organ donors at DonateLifeNYS.org/register.

“Brian Cosen was a loyal, supportive, genuine friend and he lived his life in an admirable way, always making his family his top priority. He was that person that you could count on to make you laugh and to give solid advice when you needed it. He continually put others before himself,” said Scott Bieler, President & CEO of West Herr Automotive Group. “His life ended much too soon, and I’m not surprised at all that he donated 4 of his organs to save the lives of others. I think of Brian often and miss him every day. I encourage others to register to become an organ donor.”

Today, this diverse group of advocates, auto dealers, officials, and impacted families came together to encourage their fellow New Yorkers to join the Registry and help further Donate Life’s mission of ensuring a life-changing transplant for every New Yorker in need.

“At ConnectLife, we help people help others and work to support New Yorkers’ inherent desire to do good,” said Sarah Diina, Senior Director of Marketing & Community Development at ConnectLife. “It was a privilege to help Brian selflessly give the ultimate gift, and we know that if presented with the knowledge of the life-changing impact they could have, the vast majority of New Yorkers would match his generosity. Educational events like today’s take us one step closer to a healthier and more compassionate New York.”

“Brian’s selfless example is one that I know most New Yorkers would follow if given the knowledge and the tools to do so,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). “That’s why through our partnership with Donate Life NYS, we work to do just that. I’m proud that the majority of New Yorkers who sign up to become organ, eye, and tissue donors do so through the DMV, and I’m eager to continue working together to find new ways to increase registration rates across New York.”

“New Yorkers truly care about our neighbors, so there’s no reason that our registration rate should trail so far behind other states,” said Robert Vancavage, President of the New York State Automobile Dealers Association (NYSADA). “Thankfully, dealerships like West Herr Automotive Group are using their platforms to partner with incredible organizations like Donate Life NYS to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. It’s important that we all follow Brian’s lead and help improve the lives of our fellow New Yorkers.”

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About Donate Life New York State

Donate Life New York State (NYS) is the statewide non-profit organization dedicated to increasing organ, eye, and tissue donation in New York State. Our goal is to ensure a life changing transplant for every New Yorker in need. Since 2002, we’ve served as the voice for New York’s organ, eye and tissue donation community, bringing together recovery organizations, health professionals, community organizations, and people whose lives have been touched by our mission. Donate Life NYS operates the New York State Donate Life Registry under contract with the State of New York, and advances organ, eye, and tissue donation through public and professional education, Registry enrollment campaigns, legislative advocacy, social and behavioral research, strategic partnerships, and collaborative forums with the greater donation and transplantation community.

About the West Herr Automotive Group

West Herr was founded in 1950 and since then has sold over 1,300,000 vehicles with 40 dealerships in Erie, Niagara, Monroe, Ontario and Onondaga counties, representing 27 franchises and over 3,000 employees. West Herr has received Business First of Buffalo’s “Best Places to Work in WNY” since 2003, has earned the distinction of being the Top Work Places since 2023 by The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and has been honored by the Better Business Bureau 8 times with the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. The West Herr Automotive Group is dedicated to absolute excellence in customer service provided by honest, responsible, and respectful people. West Herr supports individual pride, company spirit, and community involvement.

About New York State Automobile Dealers Association

The New York State Automobile Dealers Association is NY’s statewide trade association for all new franchised car and truck dealers. For 100 years, NYSADA has been the collective voice of New York’s Franchised Dealers. From Strengthening our state’s franchise laws to the successful blocking of many bills harmful to dealers, NYSADA has a long record of advocating for the interests of its members with the state’s leaders.

About New York State Department of Motor Vehicles

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is, for many people, their first interaction with state government. It is a multi-faceted agency, serving more than 15 million New Yorkers through driver licensing and non-driver identification, vehicle titling and registration, driver safety and education, regulating businesses that sell, repair and inspect vehicles and administering New York state motor vehicle laws.

DMV and its more than 3,000 employees statewide have prioritized the safety of New Yorkers through traffic safety initiatives, combatting and preventing identity fraud and protecting consumers. The agency is hard at work every day to “Shatter Perceptions” of what people think DMV is by continually adapting and adopting innovative strategies to better provide services to its customers where they are and in ways that are more efficient and convenient for them.

Media Clips


Audacy (WBEN-AM), Brayton J. Wilson, 5.23.24
West Herr, Donate Life and others honor life of local organ donor

ABC7 (WKBW), Lia Lando, 5.23.23
‘He didn’t do it for the recognition’: Family shares their story to encourage others to become organ donors

CBS4 (WIVB), Television, 5.23.24
The Buffalo area’s largest auto dealer is encouraging people to give the gift of life

ABC7 (WKBW), Television, 5.23.24
A local family sharing their story to encourage more people to become organ donors

ABC7 (WKBW), Television, 5.23.24
WNY family sharing organ donation story

Spectrum News, Television, 5.23.24
Honoring the gift of life

WBEN-AM, Radio, 5.23.24
The family of Brian Cosen joined by advocates to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation

WBEN-AM, Radio, 5.23.24
West Herr, Donate Life NYS, and the DMV honored the life of a long-time employee