Governor Christie: One Simple Act Can Save Many, Many Lives
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Published on Apr 23, 2012
Newark Beth Israel Hospital Press Conference, 04-23-2012
"113,000 people...are on a list waiting for a transplant, and every ten minutes another person's added to that list in America. And so what we're here to talk about today is extraordinarily important, not just important for us as a state and as a country but also it's important to individual families because of you. If you speak to the mom I just spoke to upstairs who is watching her son struggle to hold on to his life, while he's waiting for a transplant, this young man, twenty-four years old, she's not leaving his side until that happens. And I said to her that's a mother, that's a mother. That's what a mother does, and that's why what we're doing here today is so important.
5,000 of those 113,000 people are on waiting lists right here in New Jersey. And so we've made strides in improving the number of people who are registered as donors, but still only 31% of residents are registered organ donors, tissue donors. We can do better and we need to do better so we can save more lives of people both here in New Jersey and around the country.
So that's what today is all about. It's about raising awareness across our state so people know that by taking the easy small step of registering as an organ donor that you can have a major impact on multiple lives all across this country. We hear startling statistics that demonstrate the importance of increasing organ donation. We know that's needed. But what truly paints the pictures are the stories. Like I just said this afternoon I had the opportunity to see many of them. If you're one of those parents, or a wife or a husband, or a son or a daughter—I met somebody from my hometown whose father just got another transplanted heart. These are the kind of stories that really bring home exactly why we need to do it. I'm proud that I'm an organ donor. I checked it off a long time ago on my driver's license. It's important. I said to my wife last night at this point I might be passing the warranty. I don't know if anybody wants them anymore but if they want them you can have them. I figure I'm not going to care much at that point so if somebody else wants them and can extend their lives because of it I'm happy to do it, and I hope that all of you in this audience and the people who are listening and watching this later on on television will consider doing it as well. And I met a lot of people here today, a number of them sitting in the third row whose lives were saved because someone made that choice. Here, literally here today there's people who made that choice.
It's a profound gift you can give, and one that won't hurt. It won't hurt. I guarantee you. It's very rare that somebody without a medical degree can say something about medicine with such certainty. But I will tell you don't worry about it. The pain will not be there. And the joy that you will bring to a family, imagine, and I'm sure these folks sitting here can tell you, stories from their own lives, of the joy that they felt and the families felt when the medical staff, the doctors and the nurses came in and said we have a match. It's an incredible moment for these folks, and we want to be able to give more people that moment. It doesn't guarantee anything, except a chance, a chance to extend life, and I've said many times across this state that the most precious gift any of us have is the gift of life, and that while we go through all the different challenges and travails that we do that life presents us with every day and that life in New Jersey uniquely presents us with, we should not forget that this is a unique gift that was given to each and every one of us from God, that if we have the opportunity through a selfless act to be able to extend the length of that gift to another human being, that's something that we should all be doing.
And so that's why we're here today. That's why we're doing the things we're doing. I want to thank the members of the Legislature who are here today who are the sponsors of the legislation that I signed, incredibly important. It also designated April, every April, as Donate Life Month in New Jersey, and every April all state employees will receive information to remind them of the need for organ donors The legislation also directs the Treasury to encourage all businesses the state works with to raise awareness of the need for donors among their employees. Anyone, regardless of age or medical history can sign up to be a donor and so with the proclamation that I signed and the legislation I signed all throughout New Jersey both in the public sector and in the private sector we're going to be encouraging and reminding folks this one simple act that can really save many, many lives."
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