Palmesano Thrilled As Lauren’s Law Takes Effect

From left to right, Jennifer Lentini, Erin McGrath, Marilyn Foster, Jeanne Shields, Lauren Shields, Assemblyman Palmesano, Pamela Lubell and Stefan Segadlo.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) has expressed his happiness at Lauren’s Law taking effect. In the spring, Palmesano was joined by a number of organ and tissue transplant recipients and advocates, including Lauren Shields for which Lauren’s Law was named. Last year, Lauren’s Law was passed to update the driver license and I.D. card applications with the DMV to make it easier for applicants to register as organ donors.

“Organ donation is probably something most people don’t think about too much until someone they love is in need of a transplant,” said Palmesano. “Of the over 113,000 people awaiting organ transplants nationwide, more than 10,000 are in New York State. Now that Lauren’s Law has come into effect, it will be easier for New Yorkers to become donors and, hopefully, more lives will be saved. Just one person donating at the time of their death can help as many as 50 others.”

Lauren Shields (pictured above, center), who celebrated her thirteenth birthday this past April, was the recipient of a life-saving heart transplant at the age of nine. Lauren, along with her family and others, advocated tirelessly for Lauren’s Law, which passed last year.

Though not something Palmesano frequently likes to mention, his sister was the recipient of a kidney transplant from a gracious unknown donor in 2000, and in 2006, Palmesano himself donated a kidney to his sister. Palmesano referred to the experience as one of the greatest privileges of his life and showed him firsthand how organ donation can improve a person and his or her family’s quality of life.

Of the 19 million residents of New York State, only 3.5 million are registered in the donate life registry, just under 19 percent of the state’s population. The national average stands at 43 percent. New York’s donor registration is surprisingly low, considering that over 11 percent of those awaiting transplants reside in the state.

Lauren Shields and her mother, Jeanne, joined Palmesano and several other transplant recipients and advocates in April, which was proclaimed Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month. Those in attendance included Jennifer Lentini, who received her own life-saving heart transplant at age 13; Marilyn Foster, a liver transplant recipient; Pamela Lubell, CEO of Do Not Resuscitate and a living donor; Stefan Segadlo, of the New York Organ Donor Network; and Erin McGrath, one of the leading legal advocates for organ and tissue donation in New York State.

If you are not an organ donor and would like to register, or are a donor but are interested in learning more about the power of organ donation, please visit the http://donatelife.net/ , http://donatelifeny.org or http://www.alliancefordonation.org.