Nationwide more than 100,000 people are in need of transplants. About 10,000 of them are here in New York. Yet many New Yorkers aren't registered organ donors. As YNN's Erin Clarke tells us, local hospitals made a pledge Wednesday to change that.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Susan Canestrare lost her 14-year-old daughter, Elaina, after a golf cart accident in 2010, but she says Elaina still lives on.
"Unbelievable feeling to know that her tissue is living on in someone else. Her spirit is in someone else," said Canestrare.
Canestrare and her family didn't think twice about donating Elaina's tissue, organs and eyes. Because of gifts like Elaina's, people like Aaron Weed have life.
"In 2008, we got the phone call that they had a donor kidney for him and to us, it was kind of bitter sweet because we knew that the kidney had come from someone who had just passed," said Aaron's mom, Lisa Gagne.
But there are still about 10,000 New Yorkers who need transplants. Nearly one thousand of them, men and women like Dottie Clark, live right here in Central New York.
"I ask you to become an organ donor. Sign up because this is the kind of person that we need on this planet," said Dottie's friend, Jessie Keating.
New York has one of the lowest registry enrollment percentages in the country. Wednesday, area hospitals pledged to change that and the way people view being a donor.
"People fear that their care might be terminated so that they might be an organ donor and that's completely untrue," said Upstate University Hospital Director of Transplant Services Amy Friedman.
Friedman adds that New York has also made becoming a donor much easier. A once multi-step process can now be completed with the click of a mouse. Moves medical professionals hope will encourage many more people to help save a life.
"The number of specific individuals whose lives can either directly be saved or improved through organ and tissue donation from a single person's gifts can be more than 50," said Friedman.
For more information about becoming a donor visit www.DonorRecovery.org.