Almost 10,000 New Yorkers are currently waiting for a life- saving organ transplant. Every 13 hours, another New Yorker dies while waiting. Still, only 20 percent of New Yorkers have enrolled in New York state’s Donate Life Registry, compared with a nationwide average of 42 percent.
As a part of National Donate Life month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has launched a public- service campaign as part of an effort to increase the popularity of and participation in the Donate Life Registry within the state. This public service campaign will feature two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality and heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of Dr. Oz, who originally rose to fame from his regular appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“As we kick off National Donate Life month, I encourage New Yorkers to join the New York State Donate Life Registry to become an organ donor and help save lives. I also thank Dr. Oz for giving his time to participate in our public service announcements to help spread the word across the state,” Cuomo said.
A single organ donor can be responsible for saving up to eight lives and improve the quality of life for up to 50 people through the donation of their organs, tissues and corneas. “Throughout my years as a surgeon in New York, I’ve performed hundreds of life- saving heart transplants. . . . I’ve also seen countless lives lost because we couldn’t get the organs needed,” said Oz.
“As a heart-transplant surgeon, Dr. Oz is very aware of the need for donated organs, said Barbara J. Fiala, DMV commissioner. “When we asked for his help in getting the word out about the need for people to join the organ donation registry, he went out of his way to make that happen, including donating his time and that of his production company. Not only are we grateful for his support, but we know that many lives will be saved because of the awareness created by Dr. Oz’s participation in this public service campaign.”
Anyone over age 18 can participate in the program, regardless of medical history. Participation as an organ donor does not interfere with medical care or funeral preparations, and does not cost the donor or donor’s family. New Yorkers can opt to be an organ donor through an online MyDMV account, in-person at any DMV office or by filling out a form and mailing it to the Department of Health.
The public- service campaign is being circulated through the New York State Broadcasters Association, the group largely responsible for Oz’s involvement in the project. The videos are available on the DMV’s website at dmv.ny.gov/mydmv/organ-pop.htm.