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Give the gift of life; sign up today for organ donation

Brock Marvin, a 17-year-old senior at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School, is alive today because someone donated his/her heart upon death. The heart was successfully transplanted in December, and Brock was back at school in February.

Organ donation is a grown-up decision, one made more complex by the fear of death and the difficulty of dealing with such an emotional topic. Yet this grown-up decision gave Brock a fighting chance at becoming a grown-up and living a long and healthy life.

People don't have to die in order to donate an organ. A heart, yes, but not a kidney. Such was the case in December, when Westport resident Ben Sudduth donated a kidney to Westport Central School senior Molly Rascoe. She had been on dialysis for more than a year. By January, she was back on the basketball court playing for the varsity girls team.

We urge you to sign up for organ donation. About 97 percent of organ donors sign up through the Department of Motor Vehicles by filling out the "anatomical gift" information on the back of their driver's licenses.

People can also place their names on the New York State Donate Life Registry online at www.nyhealth.gov. Anyone can donate organs as long as they are 18 years old.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors officially recognized April as National Donating Life Month during a recent meeting. Brock, Molly and Ben were all there. We're just following their lead and asking people to make the selfless gift of their vital organs when the time is right.

After the surgery, Brock's father said he thought about the family of the person who died and gave the heart to his son:

"You just hate to think about what they are going through, but you hope that they would look at Brock and see that their decision or the decision of their loved one is the reason why he is living today."

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