February 14th, 2017 will be a very special day here in New York State! Not only is it National Donor Day, a day to celebrate ALL donors and the legacies they’ve left behind, it will also be the day that New York’s Young Adult Enrollment Law will take effect. This important piece of legislation will allow New Yorkers to register on the NYS Donate Life Organ and Tissue Registry at the age of 16 and 17, as opposed to the current requirement stating that one must be 18 years old to register as a donor. Parents will still have final authorization until the young adult turns 18, at which point their registration becomes one of first-person consent.
Members of the donation community throughout New York State met with legislators and donation advocates for much of 2016 to urge the passage of this important legislation. Once it takes effect, the law will remove barriers for young adults to fulfill what they feel is an important community responsibility, signing up as an organ and tissue donor. This is an incredible step towards reducing the number of people waiting for their lifesaving transplant, here in New York and throughout the country.
The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on August 17, 2016, makes New York the forty-ninth state to have either no restriction on the minimum age for an organ and tissue donor or allow for registration at an age younger than 18.
In addition to being an incredible lifesaving act, the passage of this law also presents CDT staff, volunteers and supporters with a unique opportunity to conduct outreach and start the conversation about donation with young adults in New York. Some tips and tricks to get you started:
- Share news about this law on social media!
- Reach out to your local high school to see if they’d like to have someone come in and speak to students about donation
- Share your story!
- Encourage participation of your local schools in national Donate Life observances, such as National Donor Day, National Donate Life Month and National Blue and Green Day
Let us know how we can help! Together, we can save lives and help keep the conversation about donation going.