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National Donate Life Month

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Celebrated every April, National Donate Life Month is a time when we raise public awareness for the critical need for more organ, eye and tissue donors and an increasing gap between the number of people whose lives depend upon receiving an organ transplant and the number of available organs. More than 121,000 men, women and children are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Thousands more need tissue and corneal transplants each year.

National Donate Life Month (NDLM) was instituted by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations in 2003 with the support of then Secretary of HHS, Tommy Thompson. Celebrated in April each year, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

More than 55 years after the first successful organ transplant in December of 1954, thousands of individuals have recognized the importance of giving the gift of life to others. In 2015, over 15,000 people were organ donors. Thanks to them, and thousands of others before them, more than half a million people in the United States received transplants.

Every day in April people across the U.S. make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye, tissue, marrow, and blood donors and to encourage more Americans to follow their fine example. Several activities are organized during this month to call attention to the need for organ and tissue donation, the impact donation has in saving lives of other individuals and the importance of people making their wishes known to their family in the event of an untimely death.

The Need for Organ and Tissue Donation in New York State

The need for donated organs and tissues continues to grow. There are currently more than 123,000 people in the U.S. waiting for organ transplants. Each year, approximately 6,000 people die waiting for an organ transplant that would have given them a second chance at life with their families.

  • Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers need life-saving organ transplants.
  • More than 1,800 people in New York State have been on the waiting list for more than five years.
  • About 500 New Yorkers die each year due to a shortage of donors.
  • New York has the third highest need for donors in the US, yet the second lowest percentage of registered donors.

The benefit of organ and tissue donation
Transplantation is a remarkable success story. Nearly 30,000 people with organ failure benefit from transplants each year. Additionally, each year hundreds of thousands of people benefit from donated tissue that is used for life-saving and reconstructive purposes.

  • In 2016, more than 2,100 New Yorkers receive life-saving organ transplants on an annual basis.
  • At only one-year post transplant, more than half of liver recipients have returned to work.
  • The benefit of transplantation goes beyond the individual. Improving employment status helps not only the individual, but the family and the community.
  • After only two years, the cumulative cost of dialysis surpasses the cost of transplantation.


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