LI TRIO Participates In National Donor Sabbath

By Mike
Published on December 1, 2014

National Donor Sabbath is observed two weekends before Thanksgiving as members of faith communities focus on the life affirming gifts of hope passed to others by organ, eye, tissue, marrow and blood donors. Many churches and synagogues participate in services and programs starting the discourse and discussing donation and transplantation with their congregations. The critical need for donors is also discussed.

Jerry Sosna, Lori Katz, Karen Cummings-Public and Professional Education, NYODN, Kathy Vliet, Jim Vliet, Florence Sosna and I  participated in a very special Donor Sabbath service with so many wonderful new friends.

Our group represented Long Island TRIO as volunteers and really felt warmth and understanding during both the original question and answer period during the service as well as during the informal more private conversations with friendly members of the church in the parlor after the service.

My family was invited to participate in the 2014 Donor Sabbath event at the First Presbyterian Church of Freeport on Sunday, November 16, 2014. We had the chance to discuss how organ donation and transplantation save lives.

Observing 2014 Donor Sabbath, Lori, Jerry, Mike, Karen, Kathy and JIm had the chance to discuss how organ donation and transplantation save lives.

As a transplant recipient I fielded questions from the congregation and shared my story of The Gift Of Life. My father had the chance to share his perspective as a generous living donor who gave his kidney to save a life and also shared the importance of a family trying their very best to help save lives. We also discussed the concept of volunteering in order to help give back and pay it forward.

Participating in her first Donor Sabbath, my sister shared her personal experience donating one of her kidneys to me inclusive of her original decision not to just be tested but also how she stated her desire at the outset to make the Gift Of Life happen despite any obstacles that others might think were significant.

All major religions support organ donation and Donor Sabbath is observed two weekends before Thanksgiving as members of faith communities focus on the life affirming gifts of hope passed to others by organ, eye, tissue, marrow and blood donors.

Did you know that one deceased donor can save up to 8 people? One organ donor can also extend the lives of up to 50 people with the donation of tissues and eyes.

In New York State someone dies every 15 hours waiting for an organ.

Nationwide, 18 people die every day while waiting for organ transplants.

Every ten minutes, another name is added to the national waiting list.

Things are gradually improving and 22% of New Yorkers over the age of 18 are enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry.

Kathy and Jim were wonderful with their leadership in the service and Jim did such an effective job interviewing us as transplant recipients and living donors who have given and received the Gift Of Life. What a pleasure it was meeting and spending time with the Pastor, Deacon and other dedicated leaders of the church.

Our friend Karen Cummings, one of the New York Organ Donor Network’s dedicated team spoke so eloquently about the need for more people to enroll in the organ donation registry so that more of the 10,000 New Yorkers and more of the 123,800 Americans could receive life saving transplant surgery and have a chance at the best quality of life possible. Karen also reviewed the statistics nationwide and stated how there is room for improvement in New York State. While there is disparity between the need for organs and availability of organs nationwide, New York State has another disparity.

New York State ranks near the top (third in the country) with regard to the need for organs while New York State consistently ranks near the bottom with respect to the enrollment rate.

We really appreciated Kathy and Jim Vliet inviting us to to their church and have to state that sharing in the parlor following the church service was also a heartwarming and positive experience as we had one on one conversations and were able to answer questions about the transplantation process and the Donate Life Registry enrollment procedures.

 

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