NEWARK – Gov. Christie signed into law a bill to designate April as Donate Life Month, an effort to raise awareness about organ donation.
The bill, A1265, also directs the state to spread information about organ and tissue donation to public workers during April.
The legislation, whose sponsors include Assembly members Craig Coughlin, (D-19), Woodbridge; Dan Benson, (D-14), Hamilton; and John Wisniewski, (D-19), Sayreville, was signed after Christie toured the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center today.
“Organ and tissue donation is one of the single greatest gifts we can give,” said Coughlin in a release. “The amount of lives that can be saved or improved by one single donor is invaluable. Hopefully, through the power of education, we can encourage everyone to give the gift of life.”
And Christie said, “By going through the simple process of becoming an organ donor, just one person can make a difference in as many as 50 lives. With nearly 5,000 New Jersey residents waiting to receive a life-saving organ transplant, being an organ donor is one of the most profound gifts to give someone else – a chance at a new, healthy life. And the gift of life is truly the greatest gift of all.”
According to the administration, New Jersey ranks 41st out of 50 states, with only 31 percent of residents registered organ and tissue donors.
“The need for organ transplants and the shortage of donors affects people of all ethnic backgrounds,” Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a release. “Currently, more than half of the 5,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant are minorities.”
Sen. Diane Allen, (R-7), Edgewater Park, one of the sponsors of the upper chamber version, S376, said, “Signing up as an organ, tissue, eye, or bone marrow donor is easy, yet too few people do so out of a lack of awareness, misinformation, or fear.”