Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 2, 2013

Living proof that life's a gift


Sobieraski knew she was lucky – and blessed.

But that’s only part of her story. She knows she owes her life to a stranger. Some fellow patients needing vital organ replacement won’t have occasion to say the same. The odds are high that at least one of them will die waiting.

That is likely to happen partly because there are too few registered organ donors in New York state.

The New York State Donate Life Registry is a means by which people give legal consent to donation of their organs in the event of their death. When decedents are not registered, physicians/surgeons have to get permission from a closest survivor such as a spouse or parent.

Lack of information – and understanding – has been a roadblock to helping people get a transport and a new  lease on life,

Sobieraski thinks that if people associated organ donation with “life” rather than “death,” the question of whether to register as an organ donor wouldn’t be one to avoid. She’s presenting herself as living proof that organ donation truly is “the gift of life.”

“If people talk about it before they’re in a crisis situation, then hopefully they’re more comfortable and prepared” to give consent for themselves or a loved one, Lea said.

In an effort to better educate young people, Lea’s  mother, Wendy Lanfear, told seniors at Lockport High School recently about the registry and the benefit of joining it.

The Sobieraski clan is planning a benefit in May to educate people about organ transplants and the value in making a decision when there’s time to help others.

Odds are that with an advocate like Sobieraski leading the way more lives will be saved.



Details for this story were provided by Joyce M. Miles, a reporter for the Lockport, N.Y., Union-Sun & Journal.

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