Op-ed: City businesses can play a leading role in saving thousands of lives, at virtually no cost
By Leonard Achan, President & CEO of LiveOnNY
NYPD Detective Wilbert Mora’s final selfless act of donating his organs to save the lives of five people is inspiring New Yorkers to become organ donors. Following his tragic death in the line of duty last month, Mora’s gift of life has raised awareness and appreciation for the miracles that organ donation can achieve. The heightened interest in donation presents an opportunity for our city’s businesses to play a leading role in saving thousands of lives — and at virtually no cost to them.
New York’s corporate and nonprofit leaders can catalyze a new movement to give people a second chance at life by promoting organizational drives that encourage employees and their family members to join the New York state Donate Life Registry.
If hundreds of major organizations in the metropolitan area take that simple step, we could dramatically increase the number of people on the registry — which, over time, would lead to more organ donations and life-saving transplants in our region.
Leadership and advocacy
Help from the private and not-for-profit sectors is desperately needed because almost 9,000 New Yorkers, statewide, are on a waiting list for a heart, kidney, pancreas or liver, or lungs or intestines. Nearly every day a New Yorker dies because a matching organ could not be procured.
That does not have to be the case. New York’s benevolent companies can change the equation with their leadership and advocacy.
After two years of tragic losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, New Yorkers are sensitized to the fragility of life, and they’re more appreciative than ever of our health care heroes for their lifesaving efforts. Corporations can be lifesavers as well by tapping into the goodwill of their employees to grow the Donate Life Registry.
An organ and tissue donor can save as many as eight lives and change as many as 50 with tissue that can help cancer survivors, burn victims, heart patients and even people in need of dental or corneal implants.
Today companies are concerned with promoting their environmental, social and governance credentials. Perhaps nothing would say more about a company’s social responsibility and its commitment to being a good corporate citizen than its willingness to help those whose lives depend upon an organ transplant. Indeed, any company that wishes to proclaim itself socially responsible should be engaged in promoting organ donation.
As an added benefit, a corporate-sponsored campaign to grow the Donate Life Registry is a great way to build esprit de corps. Employees feel good about working at an organization that cares about its community’s health, and gaining that recognition helps attract talented employees, committed investors and long-term clients.
Turning the tide
The vast majority of New Yorkers support the concept of organ donation. More than 6 million have already signed up, but that is less than half of the New Yorkers who are eligible to register. We can dramatically expand the registry, and our city’s companies can play a key role in making it happen.
LiveOnNY, the federally designated organ procurement organization for the New York metropolitan area, has everything companies need to get started, including a digital tool kit.
Business leaders of New York: Partner with LiveOnNY in our campaign to save lives by growing New York’s Donate Life Registry.
Leonard Achan is the President & CEO of LiveOnNY.
This article first ran in Crain’s New York.