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Friday, July 3, 2020

Top Stories > Health

This holiday, give a gift like no other

Dec 3, 2015

By Dan Hust - staff writer

By: Dan Hust | Democrat
County Treasurer Nancy Buck is pictured with her friend and former boss Ira Cohen, whose life she prolonged with her kidney donation. Buck is now on a statewide task force to promote organ donations.
MONTICELLO — You could say Sullivan County Treasurer and Roscoe resident Nancy Buck has done her part to help boost organ donations in New York State.
In 2008, she donated one of her kidneys to her former boss, the late Ira Cohen, after his began shutting down.
“I kept the better one,” she joked shortly after the surgery.
But her selfless action prolonged Cohen's life, and she's keenly aware of how often that action could be repeated across the state.
“I've always believed in it,” she says of organ donation.
That belief - and Buck's inspiring story - has encouraged many a local to sign up as an organ donor, and now Buck is part of a statewide effort to put the issue first and foremost in everyone's thoughts.

She sits on a task force of 11 people specially chosen by the New York Alliance for Donation (NYAD) and the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC).
“We have launched a collaborative campaign,” explains Aisha Tator, executive director of NYAD. “Our goal is to engage county governments in raising awareness of organ donation.”
Tator created the task force with NYSAC's leader, Steve Acquario, calling the effort “Working Together, Working for Life.”
Buck, said Tator, “is helping guide and direct this campaign,” with the aim of reaching all 62 counties in the state and changing the dismal organ donation numbers across New York.
In Sullivan County, for example, only a quarter of adults (18 and over) are signed up, despite nearly 10,000 people needing transplants statewide.
According to NYAD's website, Tompkins County (Ithaca) has the highest percentage, but that doesn't even crack 50 percent.
Tator knows that changing those numbers requires a long-term strategy.
“It's a cultural change, and that's going to take time,” she acknowledges. “It's just simply not on New Yorkers' radar screen, and we need to get it in front of them.”
That's where Buck and the task force come in, helping counties and towns figure out how to expand organ donation.
“She's so committed to helping others with this issue,” Tator confirms, having first heard Buck's story while conducting a NYSAC seminar.
“It was really an honor for them to ask me to be a part of this,” adds Buck, who has long wanted to do more to pull New York from its second-to-the-bottom national ranking in organ donations.
Indeed, one person can save multiple lives, as numerous tissues and organs can be used after a person passes away.
Buck's one of those who's had a chance to give while still alive - and see the incredible results. Her example and enthusiasm have proven contagious.
“We have two people in this building [the Government Center in Monticello] that are here today because of organ donation,” she points out. “I think it's a word that needs to be out there.”

How to find out more
To research your options with organ donation, here are a few resources:
• - a hub of info offered by the New York Alliance for Donation
• your local Department of Motor Vehicles (where most people come across the chance to sign up)
• or call County Treasurer Nancy Buck at 845-807-0200 - she'll be more than happy to tell you her experience, offer guidance and give you informative literature
And one more thing:
“Make sure all of your loved ones know what your decisions are when that time comes,” notes NY Alliance for Donation Executive Director Aisha Tator.

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