BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –– New York state has the lowest amount of registered organ donors across the country. But a new bill could change that, and add tens of thousands of donors to the list.
Today Macy Alexander-Childs is a healthy 9-year-old girl. But at just 5 weeks old she came close to losing her life after being diagnosed with a gestational disorder. She had 90 percent of her small intestines removed.
“In less than 24 hours our life went from enjoying this beautiful 5 week old baby to trying to figure out what we were going to do and what our options were to save her life,” said Tiffany Alexander-Childs of Buffalo.
Macy’s mom Tiffany says doctors didn’t expect her daughter to live, but just 6 days shy of her first birthday a donated organ transplant saved Macy’s life.
“We were fortunate enough to not have such a long wait time but there are people that have waited years,” said Tiffany Alexander-Childs.
The gift of life could keep growing in New York state, if Governor Cuomo decides to sign a bill that would lower the organ donor sign up age from 18 to 16.
“The more registrations we have the more hope the recipients have of receiving a life saving organ transplant,” said Kevin Gramlich, Unyts Vice President of Organ Services.
Gramlich says over 650 people in Western New York are waiting for an organ and in New York State it’s over 10 thousand, which makes up almost 10 percent of the national list. He says dropping the age when people can sign up to donate could mean tens of thousands of more organ donors across the state.
“Inherently we do have the highest wait lists in the country a lot of that is based on population,” said Gramlich.
Macy’s mom says her daughter’s transplant is the reason she’s still alive.
“All because somebody made the choice to give the gift of life and that is something that to this day I’m just i can’t be grateful enough,” said Tiffany Alexander-Childs.
Gramlich says part of the reason New York state has the lowest percentage of registered organ donors in the country has to do with the cumbersome process of becoming an organ donor here. He says the New York State Alliance for Donation is working on taking over the registry for the state, to upgrade the system and make it more user friendly.
Governor Cuomo has until Friday to sign or veto the bill.