William Lynch, Executive Vice President and COO of Jamaica Hospital, addresses attendees. Photo by Ariel Hernandez
BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
To honor National Donate Life month, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz joined doctors from Jamaica Hospital and the leadership of a city nonprofit organization that specializes in organ and tissue donation on Friday to proclaim April 20 as Organ Donor Day.
National Donate Life Month is dedicated to celebrating the lives of people who were saved by organ donations and the donors who made a difference in the lives of others. Each year, Jamaica Hospital and nonprofit LiveOnNY—a Manhattan-based organ and tissue donation group—educate communities throughout the Greater New York City area and its neighboring counties about the importance of organ donation.
During the ceremony, Katz presented a proclamation that April 20—which is Jamaica Hospital’s day of organ enrollment—would officially be known as Organ Donor Day, during which the hospital would enlist donors throughout the day.
She was joined by LiveOnNY’s team—including president and CEO Helen Irving and Jim Aranda, the vice president of administration and chief financial officer—as well as doctors from Jamaica Hospital.
“Over 10,000 people in the New York metropolitan area are currently waiting to receive a lifesaving donated organ, but just one organ donor can save up to eight lives,” Katz said. “Everyone is encouraged to consider signing up with the National Donate Life Registry because your decision can save lives.”
According to LiveOnNY, there are currently 115,000 people across the United States who are waiting for an organ transplant. Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list, and 22 people die every day because the organ they need is not donated in time.
“The need for organ donors in the New York metropolitan area is great,” said Jamaica hospital Chief Operating Officer William Lynch. “We really like to encourage people to please consider it very, very carefully. Donating an organ is a gift that only one human being can give to another.”
One family shared their own testimonial during the ceremony. Giraldo Vega discussed the loss of his 11-year-old son, Anthony, who suffered from a lifelong medical issue that resulted in a number of complications. On April 19, 2009, the Vega family lost their son. Following his death, they decided to donate his organs.
Vega boasted of his son’s dancing and singing talents, but said that his son’s life ended with “his greatest performance,” which was giving another person an opportunity for survival.
“Only a human can give another human life,” said Vega.
The ceremony also included a flag-raising to honor Organ Donor Day.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400, ext. 144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.