More New Yorkers are signing up to become organ donors

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Five weeks after Macy Alexander-Childs was born, her parents got devastating news. She had developed bands which were cutting off circulation to her small intestine.

A doctor removed 90 percent of her small intestine. Her parents decided to put her on the transplant list.

“I was scared,” said Tiffany Alexander-Childs.

She and her husband waited eight long months and then just before Macy’s first birthday they got the call that a match had been found.

They drove a few hours to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg for the surgery.

“It was the shortest but longest car ride and when we got there we were very nervous,” said Alexander-Childs.

The transplant went perfectly. Macy is now 10 years old and a Girl Scout, living a full life.

More than 11,000 in New York are waiting for a transplant, according to Unyts.

Vice President of Organ Services, Kevin Gramlich, told News 4 there are more than 750 people waiting for a transplant here in Western New York.

“There’s a critical need for organs in New York State,” said Gramlich.

The state is trying to encourage more people to enroll in the donor registry. Lawmakers included more than $1.6 million in this year’s state budget to promote and educate people about organ donation.

Senator Chris Jacobs has also introduced a bill this year to include a “check yes” box on library cards and SUNY and CUNY applications.

“The more access that the general public has to the donor registry, which was an issue for many years, we will see numbers increase like we currently are,” said Gramlich.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said in one week in April more than 6,300 people enrolled in the state registry as a result of changes in the past year. Teenagers who are 16 year olds can now to sign up to donate their organs. State residents can also enroll through the health insurance marketplace.

Tiffany Alexander-Childs said they know it’s a hard decision to make but they are forever grateful to the family who gave Macy her life.

“I still do pray for that family, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them,’ she said. “I just wanted them to know how grateful we are.”

Both Alexander-Childs and her husband are registered donors.

Unyts told News 4 about 34 percent of Western New Yorkers are enrolled through the state registry.

If you are interested in becoming an organ donor, click here.

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