Posted by Leslie Palma-Simoncek, Beyond Beliefs column, Staten Island Advance
The New York Organ Donor Network is calling on all religious communities to promote organ donation during the 13th annual Donor Sabbath, which this year encompasses the whole month of November.
"In 1978, there were less than a thousand people on the national waiting list," said Elaine Berg, president and CEO of the Donor Network. "The only organs recovered for transplants in New York City in those days were kidneys. Now we are faced with the alarming news that for the very first time, the number of people awaiting organ transplants in the United States exceeds 100,000. To coincide with National Donor Sabbath, it would be a blessed and relevant undertaking for our faith communities to support efforts to increase donor registry enrollments."
Clergy are asked to spread the word about organ, eye and tissue donation in any way they see fit. They can hand out New York State Donate Life Registry brochures, deliver sermons from the pulpit on the topic or invite guest speakers, including organ recipients.
The Donate Life Registry was launched in July to record the legally-binding consent of New Yorkers who wish to be donors. Those registered in the state's previous registry will need to re-enroll in the new one.
Ms. Berg said the number of organ donors in the state is lower than it was at this time last year. "This must be everyone's concern," she said.
For information on the National Donor Sabbath, visit the New York Organ Donor Network by clicking here. Donate Life Registry enrollment forms may be downloaded here.
Attention religious groups: Nearly all religions support organ and tissue donation as one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity. Houses of worship are taking action this year by handing out donor registration cards, discussing organ donation and encouraging congregation members to register as a donor. Click on the links below to obtain hand out materials and donor cards. Merv.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves