Monday kicks off National Donate Life Month, where people are encouraged to check their organ donation status to make an impact on someone’s life while they are here or after they pass away.

New York state Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, an organ donor himself, told Capital Tonight "this isn’t a Democrat or a Republican issue," and adds more needs to be done to get New York higher up on the donor ranking lists.

According to Donate Life America, more than 100,000 people are currently on the national transplant waiting list and nearly 6,000 Americans died in 2022 waiting for a transplant. The organization says that your organs could save up to eight lives, your corneas could help two people regain their sight, and tissue donations could help 75 people.

Palmesano’s sister, Teresa, was one of those people who had their life improved because of organ donation. Teresa was a juvenile diabetic and needed two donations during the course of her life, first in 2000 from a stranger and in 2006 when Phil donated a kidney.

New York state ranks just ahead of New Jersey and Puerto Rico on the donor enrollment ranking. Despite having the third highest need for organs, New York state has just a 47% donor enrollment, while the national utilization is at 64%.

In an effort to raise those rankings, the state has made it easier to sign up to be an organ donor. When interacting with a state agency like the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can check a box saying you are an organ donor. To sign up and learn more about organ donation go to