Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory presented Karen Cummings, Public & Professional Education Specialist for LiveOnNY with a proclamation recognizing their efforts on behalf of organ and tissue procurement during the April 25, meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature.
Joining her in accepting the proclamation was Christian Siems who underwent a heart transplant two years earlier at the Westchester Medical Center. In March of 2014, Christian attended a meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature to ask that April be designated Organ Donation Awareness Month. A month later, on April 24, Christian received the call for which he had been waiting and he received his new heart on April 25.
LiveOnNY, is a non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) that is dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant in the New York metropolitan area. It was established in 1978 and is the second largest OPO in the country.
In 2016, there were 1,611 donor transplants performed in New York State. The organization serves a diverse population of 13 million people, working closely with 10 transplant centers and more than 90 hospitals in the regional to facilitate donation and raise awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation.
There are currently 118,265 people on the national list for organs with 9,600 of them residing in New York State and 8,400 of them living in the New York metropolitan area. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 50 people. Unfortunately, New York State ranks last in the nation in percent of residents registered as organ donors.
“The work that LiveOnNY does is so vitally important to saving lives. Their relentless efforts to educate the public on organ donation and their dedication on behalf of those in need or organ and tissue transplant are intrinsic to saving lives. I commend them for the work they do every day by helping families and their loved ones in need of transplant,” said Presiding Officer Gregory.
Pictured: Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory was joined by Legislator William Spencer, Christian Siems, Karen Cummings, Michele Martines, Christian’s mother, and Doug Martines.