The New York Organ Donor Network kicked off National Donate Life Month with a groundbreaking campaign to increase organ donation registrations in the state and help relieve the state’s critical organ donor shortage.

The initiative features unprecedented activity at DMVs throughout the region, an enrollment contest amongst areas within the region, and is headlined by former NFL superstar, WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and “30 Rock” star Grizz Chapman. 

Esiason and Chapman will serve as “captains” of the contest that challenges metro area residents to sign-up on the state donor registry at DMVs or at www.SaveLivesNewYork.org.  Esiason, a longtime champion of organ donation, will serve as captain of Manhattan and Long Island; Chapman, himself a kidney recipient, will lead the outer boroughs and northern counties.

“We’re thrilled to stand with Boomer and Grizz as we work toward our shared goal of saving more lives through donation,” said Elaine Berg, president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network.  “Grizz and Boomer’s help will go a long way toward reducing the critical shortage of organ donors in New York.”

As part of the contest, organ recipients and families of organ donors will be on site at DMVs throughout the region to share their experiences with donation.  Stories like that of double-lung recipient Andrea Eisenman Downey, who lived to walk down the aisle at her wedding in 2008; and stories like that of Regina Mirailh, whose son saved seven lives through donation after he was tragically killed in a 1999 car accident.

“I am alive today; I can keep making people laugh today because of the selfless generosity of a stranger who now is family. I thank God and my donor Ryan who saved my life, every day I say thank you,” said Chapman.

“I’ve long believed that giving the gift of life is the greatest act of charity one person can bestow on another,” said Esiason.  “I’m proud to work with Grizz and the New York Organ Donor Network to help save lives.”

There are currently more than 110,000 people waiting for life-saving organs in the United States; 8,000 in the New York Metropolitan area alone. 18 die across the U.S. every day while waiting.  Only 16 percent of eligible New Yorkers (age 18 and over) are enrolled on the state donor registry; the national average is nearly 40 percent.  This campaign is born out of an effort to close that gap.

Among the DMV locations where recipients and donor families will be located are: Springfield Gardens, Hauppauge, Medford, Port Jefferson, Riverhead, Huntington, Garden City Massapequa, Bethpage in Long Island; College Point, Jamaica, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Harlem, Herald Square, Greenwich Street, Midtown in New York City and; West Haverstraw, Peekskill, White Plains, Yonkers in the Northern Counties.

About the New York Organ Donor Network

The New York Organ Donor Network is the nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the greater New York Metropolitan area.Established in 1978, the Donor Network is the second largest OPO in the United States, serving a culturally and ethnically diverse population of 13 million people. Working closely with transplant centers and hospitals, we coordinate organ, tissue and eye donation for transplant in the New York region; educate the public and health care professionals about donation and transplantation; promote the importance of signing up on the New York State Donate Life Registry. We work closely with 10 transplant centers, more than 90 hospitals, and various tissue and eye banks. The Donor Network is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which oversees the organ transplant waiting list in the U.S.

To find out more about how organ donation relates to cystic fibrosis, please visit the organ donation page on our website.

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