ECMC and Unyts are reminding Western New Yorkers that April is 'Donate Life Month.' Nationwide, more than 117,000 people are awaiting transplants.
Dr. Brian Murray, Director of ECMC's Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation and Kidney Care, says last year only about a quarter of the people waiting for a transplant got the organs they need.
"Here in western New York we have over 500 people on our waiting list and we're getting about 300 referrals a year, so the need is great," Murray says.
Rahwa Ghirmatzion Hill, whose 7-year-old son Asa died after a 2010 car crash, says while her prayers went unanswered, other families were able to benefit from the tragedy.
"There were other parents that were also praying for their loved ones and their children and we had the opportunity to give them life," Hill says.
ECMC CEO Jody Lomeo and Unyts President and CEO Mark Simon are encouraging people to join the donor registry and discuss their wishes with their family.
Simon says a single donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people.