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April 16, 2014
Kathleen Paice 315 464-4839

Upstate celebrates Donate Life Month April 23

Upstate University Hospital will raise awareness of the need in our community for organ and tissue donors at its Donate Life Month celebration Wednesday, April 23. The celebration, open to the Upstate community, begins with a ceremony at 11 a.m. in front of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, where patients whose lives have been touched by organ and tissue donation will be honored.

A silent auction featuring artwork, jewelry and photography will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. in the 11th floor Kinney Foundation Performance Center at the children’s hospital. The celebration will include A Taste of Upstate event with proceeds used to further donor awareness and recognition efforts throughout the year.

Currently, only 23 percent of New York residents are registered to be organ, eye and tissue donors. The national average is 45 percent.

In 2013, Upstate University Hospital performed 33 kidney transplants. Of those, seven were living kidney donations. So far in 2014, Upstate has performed 19 transplants and five were living kidney donations. The average wait for a kidney in our area is four years.

J. Keith Melancon, MD, director, Upstate Transplant Program, says, “There are about 120,000 people on the organ donor list in the United States today. Approximately 95,000 of those on the list need a kidney. Nearly half of the people on this list will die waiting. Time is of the essence for these patients. Once a patient is on the waiting list, they typically wait from five to six years. The life expectancy for someone with end stage renal failure is four to five years. We should be thinking about organ donation as individuals but most importantly, we should be talking with our family about our wishes.”

Anyone can decide to become a donor; medical history and age do not automatically exclude an individual from donating. It is possible for one donor to help more than 50 people.

For more information, visit Upstate Transplant Program.

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