Governor Cuomo Promotes Organ Donation Across New York State on Donate Life's Blue and Green Day

April 21, 2017

From the office of Governor Cuomo

New Yorkers Can Now Register as Organ Donors through NY State of Health, New York’s Official Health Plan Marketplace

New York Goes Blue and Green for Donate Life; One World Trade Center, SUNY Administration Building in Albany and New York State Fairgrounds to be Lit Blue and Green Tonight 

New York Celebrates 5th Anniversary of Lauren’s Law; Donor Registration Now Easier than Ever

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New Yorkers applying for health insurance through NY State of Health, New York’s official health plan marketplace, can now enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry as an organ donor. April is National Donate Life Month, and the launch of this new option builds on New York State’s commitment to increasing organ donation rates. In addition, Governor Cuomo directed One World Trade Center, the SUNY Administration Building in Albany and the State Fairgrounds Entrance in Syracuse to be lit blue and green for Donate Life’s Blue and Green Day on April 21.

"There are more New Yorkers waiting for organs than there are organs available and we are addressing this critical public health issue by making it easier than ever to register," Governor Cuomo said. “To honor those waiting for a donor and countless donor heroes across the state, New York has gone blue and green across the state, and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to enroll today.”

Last year, Governor Cuomo signed legislation requiring NY State of Health to add the organ donation component to its health insurance application. With the launch of the option, individuals 16 years of age or older, who are completing an application, renewing a plan, or making a life status change will be asked if they would like to be added to the NYS Donate Life Registry.

In February, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new legislation that makes 16 and 17 year olds eligible to register to be organ, eye and tissue donors. The new legislation enables this population to enroll in the Registry at the same time they first apply for a driver license, learner permit or non-driver ID, potentially increasing enrollments in New York by thousands.

New Yorkers can now enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry through the following:

According to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, more than 118,000 people nationwide are currently waiting for organ transplants. As of today, the total number is close to 10,000 in New York State. On average, 22 people die every day in the United States from causes that could have been treated with a donated organ. In addition, tissue donated by one person can positively impact the lives of more than 50 other people.

Five years ago, Governor Cuomo signed Lauren’s Law to increase enrollment rates in New York State. The legislation was named for Lauren Shields, a then 12 year-old girl from Stony Point in Rockland County who received a heart in a transplant operation in 2009. The law changed the language on the DMV license renewal form to highlight the choice for New Yorkers to enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry. Customers are now required to check one of the two boxes related to organ donation in order for their application to be processed.

Since 2012, DMV and DOH have enabled New Yorkers to enroll as organ donors online through MyDMV. During the online sign-up process, prospective donors are required to provide basic information found on their license or non-driver ID, including date of birth, zip code and last four digits of their Social Security number. Procedures and controls built into this process ensure authenticity, integrity, security and confidentiality. To become a registered donor in New York State, applicants can register when obtaining a driver license or non-driver ID card, or by renewing their driver license and signing the donor box that appears on each of these forms. 

In addition, New Yorkers can register through the New York State Health Department's website, or on their voter registration form.

Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said, "I’m pleased to see that Governor Cuomo continues to make expanding the Donate Life Registry a priority in New York State. During National Donate Life Month and throughout the year, we call upon the kindness of New Yorkers and ask them to enroll in the registry, encourage their friends and family to enroll, and give someone in need the gift of life.”

DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, “We are delighted that many New Yorkers have chosen to donate the gift of life over the years, but there is still much work left to be done. DMV encourages anyone who hasn’t already done so to sign up to be an organ and tissue donor. It’s quick and easy to register through DMV, whether online or at our offices. We will continue to promote organ and tissue donation and work to make enrolling as convenient as possible for New Yorkers.” 

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “In our state alone, there are nearly 10,000 New Yorkers currently waiting for an organ transplant, and the need grows every day. The State University of New York is proud to join Governor Cuomo in supporting Donate Life efforts taking place this month and year-round in communities throughout New York State and across the country.”

New York State Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon said, "As a long time proponent of organ donation and the sponsor of new laws which allow 16 and 17 year olds to register as donors and allow registration through the NY State of Health Insurance application process, I strongly urge residents to consider registering to become a donor. Giving the gift of life through organ donation is vitally important, as far too many New Yorkers die while waiting for an organ."

New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said, “New Yorkers are generous and brave—they want to help others. They just need the opportunity to say ‘yes’. Organ donation isn’t something we like to think about every day, but it’s important. Our bill, which passed last year, created that opportunity by adding a question about organ donation when New Yorkers consider their healthcare choices. It’s a natural moment to consider enrolling in the registry and saving a life.”

Former New York Mets All Star and Current Organ Donation Candidate Ed Kranepool said, “I know firsthand that miracles can come true, that's why I encourage all New Yorkers to become an organ donor and help make a lifesaving miracle come true for those individuals who are waiting for an organ transplant.”

Organ Donor Recipient and Organ Donation Advocate Lauren Shields said, "Without organ donation I would not be here today. My donor, and countless others, are making life possible by registering to donate. And now, New York State is making it even easier to add to this vital list of heroes by allowing 16 and 17 year-olds like myself to sign up. I am forever grateful for my donor and for New York's efforts to increase donor participation and awareness." 

New York Alliance for Donation Executive Director Aisha Tator said, "I commend New York State for taking bold actions to increase awareness of the need for organ and tissue donors, and to provide ample opportunities for New Yorkers to document their decision to become donors on the New York State Donate Life Registry. In February, New York lowered the age of enrollment in the Registry to 16, and starting today, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to join the Registry through the NY State of Health Marketplace. Thanks to the commitment of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, great strides are being made that will make a difference in the lives of the nearly 10,000 New Yorkers currently awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant.”

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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Holly Liapis
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