Organ donation experts visit Health classrooms: Students learn about the benefits of registering to become an organ donor

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Pat Kosiba

Juniors Anna Ivanenko, Ellie Suh, Taylor Garofalo, Nik Elsik, and Austin Small were among the health students who heard a presentation on organ donation made by Long Island Transplant Recipients Organization representatives Margie Ng-Reilly and Dave Rodgers.

Jesse Moskowitz and Tori Finkle, Staff Writers

For 15 years, the Long Island Transplant Recipients Organization (LI TRIO) has been visiting Schreiber and impacting students’ views on organ donation, and this year was no different.  During the week of March 9, the L.I. Trio shared the benefits of becoming an organ donor with junior health classes.  Mr. Jeff Fenn and colleagues spoke to students about their personal stories and how donating organs can save lives.

“It is amazing how little I have heard about this topic before I heard the LI TRIO speak,” said junior Sydney Levy.  “It really opened my eyes to see the benefits of organ donations through someone’s firsthand experience.  I can honestly say I see myself becoming an organ donor in the future.”

The LI TRIO is a non-profit, completely volunteer organization dedicated to educating public and private high schools, colleges, and medical schools about organ donation.  Its goal is not to persuade students to become organ donors, but instead to tell students the advantages of organ donation and how easy it can be to save someone’s life.

“In my daily life, I have never stopped to think about how many people have died from not receiving an organ.  There is such a long wait-list and God forbid anything happened to me, I couldn’t imagine being placed on a list and waiting for my life to be saved.  Thanks to the LI TRIO, I now have my chance to help people in need and become an organ donor,” said junior Ryan Delmonte.

The Schreiber health education teachers found out about the LI TRIO from an international flyer that was sent to them.  New York State has the second to least amount of organ donors registered.  The health education teachers and the LI TRIO hoped to inform the students and ultimately increase to number of registered organ donors.  The speakers made the students aware of the astounding facts about organ donation.  About 18 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant but one donor can save up to 8 and can change up to 50 lives.

Students can register to be organ donors at DMV.org when they turn 18.

“More than 123,000 men, women and children currently need lifesaving organ transplants and every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list, so it is extremely important to increase the number of organ donators registered across the nation,” said Mr. Fenn.

Students were receptive of the presentation and realized how easy it is to make a difference in someone’s life.

“From this presentation, I realized how lucky I am to have a healthy body,” said junior Maddie Rosenbaum.  “In addition, I realized that most of us take for granted the normal functions of our body and how much they do for us.  It is hard for us to imagine that anybody in the world on a given day could find out that their organs are not functioning properly.  I tried to put myself in their shoes and saw how important just one organ could be in order to give someone another chance at life.”

After listening to the speaker, students were encouraged to go home and discuss what they learned with their parents.  They were encouraged to find out if their parents are registered organ donors and tell their parents their personal preferences.

“The organ recipients added to the health education curriculum because it showed the students the appreciation for life some organ recipients are fortunate enough to have,” said Health teacher Ms. Pat Kosiba.  “Not having the speakers would result in another class of students who didn’t become organ donors simply for the reason that they just did not know much about the topic.  With all the lives waiting and depending on an organ transplant, we cannot afford this.”