Organization tries to encourage organ donation

Apr 11, 2013

New York state has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the country, at 20 percent. Donor boosters are trying to get the word out that donating an organ is something most everyone can do to save a life.

When Rob Kochik sets up his booth to encourage people to donate their organs, he hears all the excuses.

"You wouldn't want my organs, because I'm 55 or 65 or 75.  Or I have high blood pressure.  Or I wear glasses," he says.
But those reasons don't fly, says Kochik, who heads the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.   

"There's only two medical criteria that would rule someone out and would make them ineligible to donate.  One is if they are HIV positive or have aids, and second if they have cancer."

Kochik encourages families to have a discussion about organ donation before a crisis decision has to be made.  He says it's often adult children who are wary of making the donation decision, because they're not sure of their parents wishes.   Kochick says every day in the Syracuse-Rochester region, 750 people are on an organ donation list, waiting for that call that could change their lives.

"About 500 of them are waiting for kidneys, about 140-some are waiting for livers, about 45 are waiting for hearts.  And I always think in the morning, that each one of them woke up this morning and said to themselves,'I wonder if today's the day I'm going to get my transplant, I wonder if today is the day I'm going to get that phone call.'"