ROME, N.Y. -- April is national Donate Life month and Rome Memorial Hospital is working to promote the need for more organ donors locally and throughout the state.
In New York State roughly 9,515 people are waiting for an organ donor to save their life, in Central New York, 343 people are on that list, according to United Network for Organ Sharing.
"It's the most valuable life gift that you could ever give to someone," said Patricia King, assistant vice president of continuum of care, at Rome Memorial Hospital. "People do often miss conceive that that there is going to be a delay in funeral arrangements or that they couldn't have an open casket and that is not the case at all. It is easy to go through the process of organ donation as well as signing up."
New York State has the largest number of people on the waiting list and the second lowest number of donors registered. But there are some measures in place throughout the state to change that.
Since 2017 the State Department of Motor Vehicles allows people ages 16 years of age or older to sign up to become a donor when they receive their driver's license or permit, which King said has increased the organ donors in the state.
Rome Memorial Hospital promoting National Donate Life month with a donation registry day on Thursday, April 18. The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. Staff will be available to answer questions and to help people register who are interested in becoming an organ donor.
King added that one organ donor can save up to eight lives.