2 women raise awareness of ongoing transplant crisis in NY

2 women raise awareness of ongoing transplant crisis in NY

Maria Torres is a volunteer for Live On New York, the organization that helped connect her with a donor family and save her life over 20 years ago.  
“I was seriously ill,” said Torres. “They immediately told me when they did the evaluation that if I didn’t receive a liver I would die.”  
Torres, who was 36 years old at the time, had her life on the line before receiving a transplant. She now works with Live On New York to help provide bereavement services to people like Arlene Soto, a mother whose 16-year-old son’s organs were donated after he was killed by gun violence in 2017.  
“He has saved many lives,” said Soto. “It gives us comfort knowing he’s lived through others even though the pain is still there.” 
Soto, also a volunteer for Live On New York, is teaming up with Torres to raise awareness for the ongoing transplant crisis in New York. There are at least 1,364 people on the transplant waiting list in Kings County and at least 1,203 in the Bronx. according to Live On New York.  
According to SUNY Donates, only 22% of New Yorkers are enrolled as organ donors, far below the nationwide average of 47%. Torres and Soto want to educate New Yorkers and cut through local language barriers to increase that number.  
“Live On New York, what it does is provide services for these families that sometimes feel isolated,” said Torres. “I think the most important thing to remember is to have these conversations.”