Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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News & Views

WSKG Radio: Pending Legislation In Albany Would Ease Registering For Organ Donation

April 22nd, 2016 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

During National Donate Life Month in April, WSKG Radio reported on how New York State continues to have one of the lowest percentages of its residents signed up to be organ donors. WSKG interviewed Rob Kochik, the executive director of Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.

Mr. Kochik told the radio station legislation pending in Albany could help increase the number of people signing the donor registry. If it were to become law, one part of the legislation — which has already passed the state senate — would allow those who are 16 and 17-years-old to enroll in the registry when they apply for their driver’s license.

“Right now they have to wait until they’re 18 and by then, they’re often doing other things and never get around to it,” Mr. Kochik said. His comments coincided with a Donate Life Month event at Upstate University Hospital.



Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network Celebrates National Donate Life Month

March 30th, 2016 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

During April, FLDRN focuses on the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation — inspired by sunflowers, and with a full program of events.

April is National Donate Life Month, when Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network (FLDRN) joins organizations, families and individuals across the U.S. to promote the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.

More than 121,000 adults and children nationwide need a life-saving organ transplant. In New York State, nearly 10,000 people are awaiting transplants, with over 600 of those on a waiting list in our region.

This year’s inspiration: The sunflower

Rob Kochik, executive director of FLDRN

Rob Kochik, FLDRN’s executive director.

This year’s National Donate Life Month theme is inspired by the mighty sunflower. Rob Kochik, FLDRN’s executive director, explains that the sunflower symbolizes the power of life-giving renewal.

“Sunflowers follow the light throughout their lives, inspiring us to do the same by living life to the fullest,” Mr. Kochik says. “The potential of one sunflower to create an entirely new field of flowers from its thousands of seeds represents the same potential we each have to pass life on by registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor.”

Mr. Kochik is asking the entire community to support Donate Life Month’s message, which is that one organ donor can save up to eight lives, and one eye and tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 50 people.

“Join us at our events in April,” he says, “to help share the messages of organ donation, and to honor organ donors and their families who passed life on.”

Join the Donate Life Registry and pass life on

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network is encouraging people to have conversations with their families and document their wishes about organ donation. By doing so, family members will have the peace of mind knowing what their loved one wanted.

Here are links to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry.

New Yorkers can also join the Donate Life Registry when they register to vote. The form is available online.

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VIDEO: WROC-TV Pays Tribute to Organ Donor Michelle Coville, Her Family — and ALL Donors

March 3rd, 2016 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

As WROC-TV/News 8 Rochester anchor Maureen McGuire described it:

“It’s hard to believe it’s been three weeks already since Scott Hetsko returned to work. All of us at News 8 want to take a moment to say thank you to his heart donor and his heart donor’s family. We’re all too aware that because of a shortage of donors, too many people die waiting for life-saving transplants.”

McGuire was referring to WROC’s chief meteorologist Scott Hetsko, who received a heart transplant in September last year, after desperately waiting three months for a new heart while hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital’s Transplant Center.

McGuire and WROC are emphasizing the shortage of organ donors in the U.S., and particularly in New York State. They are recognizing donors and their families who make transplants possible—even though Hetsko’s donor remains anonymous.

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April 17 Rochester River Run/Walk 5K, in Support of Organ Transplants and Donation

February 26th, 2016 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

Rochester River Run

Run or walk with greater purpose!

The 15th annual Rochester River Run/Walk 5K, which promotes awareness and educates the public about organ donation while commemorating organ donors and recipients, is set to take place on April 17 at Genesee Valley Park.

A collaboration between UR Medicine’s Friends of Strong Memorial Hospital, the hospital’s transplant units, and Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, the Rochester River Run/Walk 5K is a fundraiser that supports patients still waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, or transplant recipients already on the road to recovery and a second chance at life.

The morning also includes a moving tribute to organ donors, donor families and transplant recipients.

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RADIO INTERVIEW: Scott Hetsko and FLDRN’s Rob Kochik on WXXI-AM’s “Connections”

February 18th, 2016 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network

Connections with Evan Dawson

Scott Hetsko, the popular WROC-TV/News 8 Rochester chief meteorologist, who returned to work on February 7 after receiving a new heart in September last year, was interviewed today by Evan Dawson on Rochester’s National Public Radio station WXXI-AM 1370.

Scott Hetsko

Scott Hetsko

Dawson is the host of “Connections,” which airs weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. The interview filled a one-hour segment.

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network’s executive director, Rob Kochik, also joined in the discussion, half way through the interview.

Welcoming Hetsko to his show, Dawson read from a newspaper quote where the meteorologist described how dire his situation had been:  “Either die or get a new heart.”


In addition to airing on WXXI, “Connections” can be heard on WRUR-FM 88.5 in Rochester and WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva, NY.


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