Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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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.

President Obama Supports Organ Donation and National Donate Life Month

April 1st, 2015 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network


President Barack ObamaPresident Obama has issued a proclamation to show his administration’s support of organ donation, and which coincides with the start of National Donate Life Month today.

In the proclamation, Mr. Obama says: “The decision to become a donor can save up to eight lives and enhance many more — men, women, and children who depend on the generosity and sacrifice of others to receive the vital care they require.  I encourage individuals of all ages and backgrounds to consider this unique opportunity to help those in need and to discuss this choice with friends and family.”


Among the notable points made by the president in the proclamation are:

  • More than 123,000 Americans are in need of a life-saving organ transplant.
  • The United States continues to face a critical shortage of donors, and every day, 21 people die waiting for an organ.
  • American should join their state’s donor registry. (In New York State, the registry can be reached online. Anyone seeking to find their state’s registry may visit

Mr. Obama also stated: “In the face of uncertainty and suffering, Americans have always joined together, drawing strength and comfort from our commitment to one another; we find hope through faith and our enduring belief that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.”

“During National Donate Life Month, let us stand with all those who know the pain of an uncertain tomorrow and redouble our efforts to save and improve the lives of Americans across our country.”

In conclusion, Mr. Obama said, “I call upon health care professionals, volunteers, educators, government agencies, faith-based and community groups, and private organizations to join forces to boost the number of organ, eye, and tissue donors throughout our Nation.”

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network’s 5 Ways to Celebrate National Donate Life Month

April 1st, 2015 by Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network


Rob Kochik, executive director of FLDRN

Rob Kochik, FLDRN’s executive director.

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network (FLDRN), the organ procurement organization that serves New York State’s Finger Lakes, Central and North Country regions, is suggesting five ways people can celebrate National Donate Life Month, which is observed throughout April.

Rob Kochik, the FLDRN executive director, said, “We have a big line-up of activities planned to mark Donate Life Month. People can come out to support organ donation at a variety of events and have some fun at work on April 17, which is  National Blue and Green Day.”

“The most important consideration, is that organ and tissue donation saves lives,” Mr. Kochik said. “Right now, around 650 people are waiting for organ transplants in our region. Approximately 1,500 New Yorkers have been on the waiting list for five years or longer.”

Mr. Kochik added: “Donate Life Month reminds us that one organ donor can save up to eight lives. Someone who donates tissue such as bone, skin and heart valves, can save or improve up to 50 lives. For this reason, we urge residents in our area to live life to the fullest and pass life on by joining New York State’s Donate Life Registry.”


5 ways to mark Donate Life Month 2015:


#1  Haircuts and Heroes: The Shop, Syracuse’s trendy, new barbershop, is hosting a month-long event in April to raise awareness on how to Pass Life On by signing New York State’s Organ Donor Registry. Customers showing the symbol of a heart on their driver’s license will receive $1 off their service and earn the honor of ringing the special Donate Life bell. The Shop is at Empire Plaza, 3140 Erie Blvd, East Syracuse, NY. For more information, call 315-446-2859.

National Donate Life Month#2  Donate Life Night with Rochester Amerks: On April 10, the Amerks will encourage people to join New York’s donor registry. Donate Life Night will take place at the Blue Cross Arena when the Amerks face the Toronto Marlies. There will be giveaways, information tables, special guests, and the playing of FLDRN’s new Pass Life On video. And fans will be able to show their pride as registered donors by signing the “I’m Passing Life On” board. Discounted tickets are available for $10.

#3  Rochester River Run/Walk 5K: On April 12 at Genesee valley Park (Roadhouse Shelter), the 14th Annual Rochester River Run/Walk 5K will salute organ donor and transplant families, while raising awareness and funds to assist organ transplant patients and families at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital. At 9 a.m., a ceremony will honor local organ transplant recipients, living donors, and members of donor families. The race begins at 10 a.m. Family, friends, and co-workers may sponsor a runner/walker by making a donation through Friends of Strong to the Transplant Unit. Pledges can be made online through the Friends of Strong websiteRegistration may be completed online until noon on Friday, April 10. Registration will also take place on-site the day of the race from 8 to 9:30 a.m. More information: Call Friends of Strong at 585-275-2420.

RELATED LINK: National Donate Life Month 2015: FLDRN’s 5 Ways to Celebrate in More Detail

#4  Experience a “Taste of CNY”: April 15 will be more than the deadline for filing your taxes! It’s the day Upstate University Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital will celebrate Donate Life Month with various events including “A Taste of CNY.” A day of recognition, celebration and awareness will begin with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, One Children’s Circle in Syracuse. Then from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., guests will be able to enjoy dozens of goodies at a bake sale, and bid on a variety of auction items, during “A Taste of CNY” / Donate Life Festivities, which will take place at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital Performance Center, One Children’s Circle in Syracuse.

#5  April 17 is National Donate Life Blue & Green Day: FLDRN is urging New Yorkers in its service area to help spread awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation by being creative with the colors of the Donate Life logo — blue and green. People can wear blue and green and hold an event, make a Donate Life display or dream-up their own way of showing how they want to Pass Life On as a registered organ donor. PLUS: Enter our “Show, Share, Win!” Contest.  FLDRN suggests many other ways to make Blue and Green Day a success, and people can also enter a Show, Share and Win Contest that invites photo submissions for possible social media placement.

For information about National Donate Life Month and to arrange organ donor registry drives in the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network region, email Amy James or call her at 585-272-4930.





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