At the Campus Center at St. John Fisher College, sophomore Noah Michaels is taking in a few facts about organ donation. Among them? You’re never too young, or too old, to be a donor. “It’s kind of tough to think about organ donation,” says Michaels. “Because I’m young and from what my doctor tells me, I’m healthy!”
But as Noah found out, there are hundreds of people locally, waiting for an organ. Across the U.S., 22 people die each day waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Right now, more than 123,000 Americans are currently on the transplant waiting list. 10,000 of them are New Yorkers. 700 of them, from Western New York. Amy James says the wait is brutal. She’s the Community Education manager for the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network. Her mission is to encourage people to be an organ donor. To spread the word, she visits churches, libraries, civics clubs and college campuses. “We say to the kids, can you go home and talk to mom and dad about this? And what about talking to Grandma and Grandpa about it too? Because if the kids say it’s okay, the family goes, ‘Oh! It’s okay!”‘
“There may come a day where I don’t need my organs, but someone else can benefit and have a good life like I’m able to because I’m healthy,” Michaels says. “So I thought it was a no-brainer after that.” In Rochester, approximately 1 in 3 people is registered to be an organ donor, far less than the national average of 1 in 2. Thanks to people like Noah, the tide may finally be changing. He didn’t let misinformation keep him from saving lives.
Please consider being an organ donor. For more information, visit the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.