Personal connection to organ donation for lawmaker

State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, foreground, talks about new legislation to expand the organ donor base following its passage in the Assembly.(Photo: PROVIDED PHOTO)
STAR-GAZETTE | Jeff Murray

When state Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, cosponsored a bill to expand the pool of eligible organ donors in New York, it wasn't just because it he thought it was a good idea.

Palmesano has a personal connection to the issue. His own sister is a two-time organ recipient, and he was the donor of one of those organs.

The new bill, which passed both houses of the legislature and was recently signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, lowers the eligibility age for potential donors from 18 to 16.

Not only is Palmesano concerned about the number of people waiting for a life-saving organ donation, but he said his sister could have easily become another statistic.

"My sister was a two-time organ transplant recipient because of the impact juvenile diabetes had on her health and organs," Palmesano said. "The first time she received a kidney/pancreas from a stranger who was an organ donor in 2000. The second time, in May of 2006, I donated a kidney to her. So I have seen firsthand the impact organ donation can have on a family." Continue reading
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