Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Hospital, county officials urge Dutchess residents to give the gift of life

Ruffing: "... absolutely no
hesitation ..."

Adams: "... he was a registered
organ donor"

POUGHKEEPSIE - More than 90 percent of New Yorkers support organ donation, but only 24 percent are registered donors, the lowest percentage in the nation.  Hospitals and businesses in the greater New York area are banding together on October 6 with a common goal, to enroll as many as possible as organ donors.

During a presentation outside the Dutchess County administration building on Tuesday, Health Quest, county officials, a heart recipient and the mother of an organ donor, made an impassioned appeal.

Alice Ruffing lost a son recently, but finds comfort in knowing others live because of a decision he made to become a donor.

“We had absolutely no hesitation in alerting the hospital that this is what he wanted to have done, and since then, the recipient of much comfort from his decision,” Ruffing said.  “It brings us daily peace to know that others are living because of him and his decision.”

Patrick Adams, of the Adams Supermarket family, knows the other side.  His heart was deteriorating with apparently little time remaining.

“A young man named Jason suffered a catastrophic brain injury and died; he was a registered organ donor,” Adams said.  “On September 28th, 2011, four years ago yesterday, I received Jason’s transplanted heart.  Jason’s death was tragic.  He left a young wife but Jason saved my life.  Without a heart transplant, I sure would have died also.”

Becoming a registered donor is easier, now, noted Dutchess County Clerk Brad Kendall.  New York’s DMV now makes it impossible to ignore the organ donor question on applications for a new or renewed driver’s license.

“And we can’t do your application until you’ve either said ‘yes’ or you purposely say you want to skip that,” Kendall said.  “So, we’re very hopeful that that, just that simple act of asking people to think about it for a moment will increase donation.”

One organ donor can save up to eight lives.  Tissue and eye transplants from one donor can improve the lives of up to 50 people.

For more information on becoming a donor, visit

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