Senator Kemp Hannon and Long Island TRIO Joint Press Conference: “This Valentine’s Day- Give Life”
Flashback-This Valentine’s Day- Give Life
NYS Senator Kemp Hannon and Long Island TRIO held a joint press conference on Valentine’s Day- February 14, in order to educate the public about organ donation, correct donation misconceptions and create a greater willingness to donate. Television and radio stations aired the press conference in cycles all day and evening on February 14 and 15, 2008.
Senator Kemp Hannon explained the importance of choosing to be an organ donor and how New York State is working to insure that the courageous decision to be a donor is respected and honored.
“I continually stress the importance of becoming a donor,” said Senator Hannon. I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that donating an organ is saving a life,” Senator Hannon continued.
“Long Island TRIO is committed to improving the quality of lives touched by the miracle of transplantation through support, advocacy, education and organ donation awareness,” said Mike Sosna, a volunteer and director of LI TRIO noting that the group consists of transplant recipients, living donors, donor families, transplant candidates, professionals and caregivers. “I am honored to be among Long Island TRIO volunteers who are continuing and expanding the tradition, goals and the mission of our organization. This mission includes promoting the importance of and need for organ donation.
With over 10,000 New Yorkers and over 100,049 Americans on the waiting list to receive a life-saving organ transplant, we trust that our volunteer efforts together with the implementation of recently signed laws in New York State will increase activity and registrations with respect to New York State’s “Donate Life Registry”.
Our all-volunteer organization is pleased to provide information and answers to any and all questions with respect to organ donation and the New York State “Donate Life Registry”. You can find additional
information by pointing your browser to our website at www.litrio.org.” Michael Sosna continues- “Each day, about 77 people nationwide will receive “The Gift Of Life”; an organ transplant, but sadly, 19 others will die while waiting for a transplant.
Michael Sosna added that “Senator Hannon sponsored a New York State bill (that was signed into law) that provides for an opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to the “Life- Pass It On” Trust Fund to support organ and tissue donation education and awareness. LI TRIO believes that education and awareness efforts will go a long way in saving lives.”
One person who donates organs can save up to 7 lives, while a tissue donor can improve up to fifty lives including actually restoring eyesight. New York State’s new driver’s licenses will prominently display (on the front of the document) one’s “consent” to being an organ donor and it is highly recommended and essential that we all discuss our consent decision with our families and next of kin.”
The Tietjen’s were presented as an affectionate, happy and healthy Valentine’s day couple as they spoke to reporters and George Tietjen had no shortage of smiles and laughter as he added: “Happy Valentine’s Day! This is the day every year that we celebrate love. But for me, I celebrate love every year on August 23. That is the day in 2001 when my wife gave a special gift of love to me – one of her kidneys. I was seriously ill with kidney failure and was told by my physicians that it was time to think about dialysis and/or a transplant. In New York State there was, and is a 7 to 8 year wait for a kidney.”
Sue Tietjen was beaming and stated that “I’m happy that I could do something to eliminate the need for a 7-8 year wait, and give my Valentine back his normal life!” Sue and George Tietjen were also interviewed by local and regional media outlets including CBS News 88 as well as News 12 and WLNY. Sue and George Tietjen are also Long Island Transplant Recipients International Organization volunteers.
George Tietjen added that he was “ fortunate that my wife was a match for me and I didn’t have to wait. Others who are currently on the waiting list are fortunate that Sen. Kemp Hannon had a plan that may shorten their wait. Because of his and other New York State legislators’ initiatives, if you choose to be a donor, joining the New York State “Donate Life Registry” registers your consent to be an organ donor. As this new law is implemented in New York State, your consent will be considered primary and given the serious weight it deserves. New York State is now a leader in this cause and an example to so many other states.”
LI TRIO volunteers Tom Bush, Ed Burki, Iris Edelson and Joseph Dioguardi were also on hand speaking to reporters for this media event.
To join the New York State “Donate Life Registry” point your browser to www.litrio.org.