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Organ donors sign up in Erie County

The number of registered organ donors in Erie County increased by 22,109 since April 2014, exceeding a goal set for a year-long Donate Life campaign run through the county Auto Bureaus.

Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs announced Thursday that the 22,000-person goal was reached and surpassed, increasing the potential to save or enhance many more lives. Jacobs led the county to partner with Unyts, the region’s leading organ and tissue donation organization, to train Auto Bureau staff so they could help customers understand how important and how easy it is to become a registered organ donor. The public also saw mailings, TV announcements and social media messages about the drive.

Jacobs considers the results as encouraging. New York is last among the 50 states for the percentage of residents who are registered organ donors. Only 22 percent of New York adults are signed up, compared with 47 percent nationally. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a life-saving transplant, 800 of them in Erie County.

For information on how to become a registered organ donor, go to erie.gov/clerk/donatelife, or contact the Erie County Auto Bureau at 858-7450.