'Rockland Unites to Donate Life' Campaign Kicked OffCounty teams up with New York Organ Donor Network to save lives by encouraging more people to register as organ donors.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe and President/CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network Elaine R. Berg on Monday unveiled a countywide public education campaign and a donor challenge called "Rockland Unites to Donate Life."
This plan is designed to help strengthen the state's organ, eye and tissue donor registry.
"New York is currently ranked as having one of the lowest organ donation and registration enrollment rates in the United States," said Berg, noting that only about 9 percent of Rockland's total population of more than 300,000 people is registered for organ donation.
The public education campaign seeks to engage residents by detailing the need for and benefits of organ donation through a multi-media informational outreach.
Once educated, local businesses, government agencies, civic and community groups and individuals can sign up at least 15 participants on the donor registry in order to "qualify" for the race. Each team of 15 will compete to register the most donors through April, 2011. The winning team will receive a "Racing Cup" trophy.
"We can do better," said Zugibe. "The generosity of Rockland County residents' knows no bounds, and this competition will raise awareness and help to increase the list of potential life-savers by thousands. With dozens of people in Rockland County currently awaiting a transplant this initiative will be a new and exciting way to increase donor rates."
There are currently 151 Rockland County residents awaiting an organ transplant. More than 10,000 individuals statewide are hoping to receive a life‐saving donation.
Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato is one of the local public officials supporting the program.
"I was a reluctant individual when it came to the topic of organ donation," said Piperato. "After meeting and knowing people who have been involved in organ donation it makes you think. I myself and my family have signed up as donors."
Rockland County PBA president Jim Kelly is also looking forward to this challenge.
"This is a tremendous campaign and, like Clerk Piperato, I was nervous but …," he paused and reached for his pocket handing a form to NYODN President Berg, "I am now a registered donor."
"Each registered person can end up saving multiple lives and effecting the lives of many others," added Zugibe. All parties have high hopes for this unique campaign.
Teams already committed to the challenge include those from the Rockland County District Attorney's Office, the Rockland County Commissioner of Jurors, the Rockland County Clerk's Office, the Ramapo Police Department, the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association and the Ramapo Police Benevolent Association.
There are several ways to sign up for the Rockland Unites to Donate Life challenge:
Team leaders and individuals can visit DonateLifeNY.org for electronic enrollment Each team will receive a "blue box" to collect paper enrollments. The "blue box" will beplaced in a designated common space (i.e. office reception area, break room) for maximum exposure. The paper enrollment forms will be collected daily and forwarded to NYODN weekly.
Residents can mail paper enrollment forms to NYODN Individuals can indicate their desire to donate at the Department of Motor Vehicles, while renewing a drivers license or securing a non‐driver ID.
One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and those who give tissue can improve the quality of life for up to 50 sick or injured people.