Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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News & Views

MAY 19, 2015 IS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE: United Network for Organ Sharing Has Coordinated 500,000 Organ Transplants

May 19th, 2015 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network




As of May 19, 2015, the national transplant allocation system developed by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has coordinated 500,000 organ transplants from deceased donors in the United States since its beginning in October 1987. In a news release issued today, UNOS said that more than 250,000 recipients of these transplants are estimated to be surviving.

“This is a significant accomplishment in healthcare, made possible by the generosity of organ donors and their loved ones and the cooperative work of dedicated transplant professionals nationwide,” said OPTN/UNOS President Carl Berg, M.D. UNOS serves as the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation.

“The national system has coordinated many transplants that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.” – Carl Berg, M.D., UNOS/OPTN President

Mr. Berg said, “It is also an opportunity to reflect on the work yet to be done. More than 123,000 people await an opportunity for a life-giving transplant today. We can meet their needs with the support of everyone who commits to organ donation.”

In response to the attainment of the 500,000 landmark, Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network Executive Director, Rob Kochik, said: “This is something for FLDRN to celebrate as we were an important part of helping to save many of these lives and supporting the generous donor families.”


500,000 transplant landmark in US



WXXI VIDEO: Where Are New York’s Organ Donors?

May 4th, 2015 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network


In an interview with Rob Kochik, Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network’s executive director, and other guests, WXXI-TV’s Hélène Biandudi Hofer explored the issues of organ donation and how to join the registry on Need to Know. The program aired at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 30 It was rebroadcast on Sunday, May 3 at 11:30 a.m.

In addition to Mr. Kochik, the guests during the segment were Scott Semans (whose sister, Heather, passed life on through the gift of organ donation), Jeremy Shaw (a liver recipient) and Todd Butler, the executive director of the Ad Council or Rochester.

Mr. Kochik said FLDRN was also pleased to have Scott and Heather’s parents, Mike and Jan Semans, looking on during the taping of the program.



Topics raised during the interview were how organ donation saves lives; the shortage of donors in New York State, and how FLDRN has re-framed the message of donation by focusing on the importance of living life to the fullest and passing life on after joining the registry.

At one point during the discussion, Mr. Kochik emphasized how important it is to discuss with family one’s decision to save lives through organ donation. He said he had been impressed with a quote he’d heard recently: “Be brave enough to have a conversation that matters.”

See the video on WXXI’s website.




Donate Life Month Results in Heightened Media Reports About Organ Donation

April 17th, 2015 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network


West New York Man, Who Received His New Heart at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital, Meets the Family of 22-Year-old Donor

The donor and transplant families walked together on April 12 in Rochester River Run/Walk 5K, sponsored by the Friends of Strong Memorial Hospital to benefit organ transplant patients.  [Photo:]

APRIL 12: The Brown and Wieland families walked together in the Rochester River Run/Walk 5K, sponsored by the Friends of Strong Memorial Hospital to benefit organ transplant patients. [Photo:]

Claude Brown, who lives in the Lockport-area, received a new heart in 2010 at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital. Brown’s donor was 22-year-old Ricky Wieland, an Ohio National Guardsman studying to be a mechanic.

On April 11, during a National Donate Life Month event filled with emotion, Brown and his wife Molly met Ricky’s parents, Richard and Debbie Wieland. The families revealed their identities last November, which led to the meeting.

SEE THE VIDEO AND READ MORE: WGRZ-TV/Democrat & Chronicle, April 12, 2015

READ MORE:, April 17, 2015


VIDEO – WNYF-TV: Samaritan Medical Center Partners With FLDRN to Push for Organ Donors

April 15, 2015: Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, NY, is working with health partner Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network during National Donate Life Month to decrease the number of people who die or whose health deteriorates because they are waiting for an organ transplant. Family members of loved ones who donated their organs shared their stories Wednesday.


National_DonateLife_Month logo genericVIDEO – WNYF-TV: Jamie Lawrence, Daughter of a Tissue and Eye Donor, Explains the Importance of Family Discussions About Donation

April 15, 2015: Rob Kochik, executive director of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, and Jamie Lawrence, whose father was an eye and tissue donor, are interviewed during National Donate Life Month on 7 News This Morning. The key message: It’s important to discuss your wishes to be a donor with loved ones ahead of time. 


LISTEN! – WAER-FM: To Raise Organ Donation Awareness, Upstate University Hospital Shares Stories About Organ Donation and Transplantation

April 15, 2015: Upstate University Hospital is celebrating Donate Life Month and is encouraging individuals to join the organ donation registry. To illustrate the importance of donation, the Syracuse public radio station features the stories of various individuals: Kidney recipient James Rev; Deborah Corapi, who received a kidney from a friend, and Kathy Baker, whose daughter Michelle Coville became an organ donor.


VIDEO – TWC-TV NEWS, JAMESTOWN, NY: Upstate University Hospital Urges Increased Organ Donor Registry Enrollment

April 15, 2015: As part of Donate Life Month, Upstate Medical University is encouraging everyone to sign up for the donor registry. They say New York is home to ten percent of Americans waiting for a transplant, but only three percent of all registered donors.

VIDEO – WSYR-TV: Advocates Push for More Organ Donors in New York

April 7th, 2015 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network


Syracuse TV station WSYR is airing a story today about National Donate Life Month in which they reference nursing student James Wilson who is on kidney dialysis while waiting for a transplant.

WSYR also describes how Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network launched the Pass Life On public education campaign in February, and quotes FLDRN Executive Director Rob Kochik as saying: “About three million New Yorkers are on the registry, but we have about 15 million who are 18 and older, so we have a ways to go.”


About 24 percent of eligible enrollees have signed up on the New York State Donate Life Registry. These numbers stand in stark contrast to the national organ donor registration average of 40 to 50 percent, which results in New York State ranking last in the nation.

Download WSYR’s website page to read the full story and see the video.

VIDEO – WNYF-TV: Personal Stories of Organ Donation

April 7th, 2015 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network


As part of its National Donate Life Month coverage in April, WNYF-TV, whose service area includes Northern New York, presents its viewers with personal stories that show the personal impact of organ donation and transplantation.

According to WNYF, Bruce Johnson and Jamie Lawrence have “witnessed organ recovery where they work, at Samaritan Medical Center, and they both lost family members, who donated their organs.”

Lawrence’s father became an eye and tissue donor, while Johnson’s 22-year-old daughter donated organs that saved the lives of five people.

WNYF quotes Rob Kochik, the executive director of Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, as stating: “We really consider the organ donation situation in the United States as a health care crisis with a cure.”

To help ease the crisis, FLDRN urges New Yorkers to register as organ donors.

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