ALBANY, N.Y. - The next time you are at the DMV you may notice a new question on your driver's license application. It's a part of "Lauren's Law", a new piece of legislation requiring the DMV to ask whether you want to donate your organs.
New York State has one of the lowest organ donor rates in the country, with only 18% of adults registered as donors. The national average is 43%.
Sam Messina looks back on his family pictures and photos of his son Matthew from time to time. "He was a U.S. marine, he loved children, and he had a lot of talents," Messina shared.
Ten years ago, he got the call no parents ever wants to get. Messina learned, while Matthew was riding his bicycle he was hit by a drunk driver. Matthew was only 25 years old. "He had the potential to do wonderful things in life," Messina said.
But even in death, Matthew's parents decided to give the gift of life to others waiting on transplant lists. "I could hear Matt say do this, I know you'd want this," Messina added.
Matthews skin tissue and organs ended up in 25 different states helping nearly 100 different people. "No one should ever have to die because an organ isn't available," said Messina.
When it comes to organ donors like Matthew, there aren't enough of them in New York. "Lauren's Law will mandate that people actively consider whether or not they'd like to sign up," explained Melanie Evans, with NY Alliance for Donation.
Evans helped develop the law with NY senators. She said many people overlook the donor section in the past because it was an optional section. Now they will be required to check either a yes box, or skip question box at the DMV.
"I think he'd hug the governor if he could get to him," Messina said about his son. Messina now keeps in touch with some of the recipients Matthew helped. "When I look at them I see a little bit of Matthew shining through," he added,
If you'd like to become an organ donor you can register through this link, http://www.dmv.ny.gov/mydmv/organ-pop.htm
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