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Another Voice: Organ donors are true miracle workers

By Jack O’Donnell

Did you know that 20 people die every day waiting for a transplant?

More than 10,000 New Yorkers are currently waiting for an organ transplant. One donor can save up to eight individuals through organ donation and improve the lives of 12 or more people through tissue donation.

Transplant Miracles was founded on a very simple idea: anyone can be a miracle worker. We worked throughout April – Donate Life Month – to sign up miracle workers from Western New York.

Organ donors save lives and make miracles happen. By registering as a donor – and talking to your family and friends about organ donation – you can make a miracle happen.

Personal stories of those who have been helped are a window into real-life miracles. Miracles performed because of the selflessness of donors and their families, often under the most difficult of circumstances.

These stories come to life with Macy, who was placed on a transplant list when she was just 5 weeks old. She received an intestinal transplant just a few days before her first birthday.

Or people like Barbara, who received a kidney transplant in 1999 and today works to educate the public on kidney diseases and prevention.

And people like me. When I suddenly became ill and needed a liver transplant, my doctors thought there was almost no chance I would survive. Miraculously, I received a lifesaving transplant in 2007 and today I am happy and healthy and the father of a 6-week-old baby.

Our donors and their families are our miracle workers. We are grateful to them every day but we also know that many more people – too many – are waiting for their own miracles.

We set the ambitious goal of signing up 10,000 new registrants last month and while we are still tallying the results, every single new organ donor who registered makes our campaign a success. We are thankful for the many city leaders, individuals, organizations and businesses that have supported our efforts. However, we need to work year-round to sign up new donors, not just in April.

Please join us in making 2015 the year of Donate Life and make Buffalo the premier Donate Life City in America. You can help by visiting TransplantMiracles.org to register as an organ donor – and, most importantly, sharing your decision to save lives with your family and friends.

I know what it means to have life after death. My donor gave me the gift of life. Because of that, my wife and I are celebrating the miracle of our son’s birth. Help us make miracles happen. Sign up today.

Jack O’Donnell, of Buffalo, is a partner at Bolton St. Johns, a government relations and public affairs firm in Buffalo, Albany and New York City, and a grateful organ transplant recipient.