New York residents age 16 or older can join the Donate Life Registry online, at the DMV, or through voter registration. Enrolling as an organ, eye and tissue donor can save the lives of up to eight people and enhance the lives of countless others.
Click below to register online today!
David “Dave” Gray was as a procurement specialist at Owens Corning, in Feura Bush, N.Y., where he worked for 37 years. A lifetime resident and native of East Greenbush, N.Y., where he and his wife of 40 years, Cathy, built their own home. They have two children, Jodi and Matt; and two grandchildren, Jesse and Lucy.
He is an avid camper, fisherman and hunter and an enthusiastic hobbyist, raising bees; harvesting honey and maple syrup; canning jellies, jams, pickles, salsa, tomatoes, chili sauce; and making his own beer, wine, balsamic vinegar, horseradish, and lipbalm.
In 2015, he was struck by viral cardiomyopathy, which compromised his heart and he was told he would need to be evaluated for heart transplant. Dave was accepted and placed on the organ recipient registry on Dec. 4, 2105, and received a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, a surgically implanted mechanical heart pump in March of 2016. On Aug. 20, 2016, after a year-long battle that included 177 days in the hospital, Dave received his life-saving gift: a new heart from a 30-year old organ donor.
Since that time, Dave has been a devoted organ and transplant advocate, raising awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and supporting patients at Westchester Medical Center who anxiously await for a transplant or who are going through the donation/recipient process. Dave travels regularly to Westchester Medical Center, visiting patients and advocating for them on the patient family council. In addition to Westchester Medical Center, Dave partners with The Center for Donation and Transplant, Donate Life New York State, and LiveOnNy to raise community awareness.
Dave says that he awakens every day with his donor on his mind. His biggest piece of advice “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Dave is truly a man with heart; committed to giving back for his gifts and ensuring others can receive the gift of life as well.
Our son, Jonathan F. Pratt, was a beautiful human being who gave huge in life. His wish to give of himself as a tissue donor was one we as his parents carried through with after his death.
Jon was a pedestrian who was run down by a hit and run driver on drugs and alcohol. This driver was a felon who was let out of jail the day before killing our son, Jonathan. This loss has had a profound effect on our Family and Friends.
Jon, giving the gift of life to someone else after his passing has lifted our hearts knowing many other people are being helped. We find this deeply meaningful and with so much pride that this was Jon’s wish. Our amazing son giving of himself, even after he could not give his heart and love anymore in this life.
His writing’s continue on after him. We have published his book “The Purpose and Love Manifesto”. This book of philosophy is another contribution he has made to the world. We continue to know him, Love him and relate to him as an amazing giving man.
The following poem was written by Jon's mother, Constance D. Pratt.
‘Jon Beside Me’
Healing is Handed
My Hand Outstretched
I Enfold Pebble
In My Palm
With his Love around
It is my
Precious Son’s Hand
giving me this gift
Of Healing Love
“I Still Hurt”
The pebble with the word “Healing” on it, was purchased by Jon in a store at Cape May Point 2012 while on vacation and given to his mother Constance.
On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, I received a phone call from my son's friend Joe telling me that CJ was rushed to the emergency room. Not realizing it yet, it was also the moment that life as we knew it was over. C.J. was only 26 years old and our only child. What we saw when we walked into the emergency room was our beautiful son hooked up to a respirator.
It was 3:00 am when the staff prepared to take CJ to the ICU. We wanted to believe that he was going to make it but in our hearts we knew better. The following day tests were taken and we learned that our son was brain dead. It was at that time that they asked us
if we would like to donate C.J's organs. Without even discussing it we just looked at each other and said "yes". C.J. was a very giving young man and would have wanted this.
C.J.'s Aunt Betty was in need of a kidney and was on the transplant list. We asked if we could see if CJ was a match for her. They told us not to get our hopes up the likely hood was extremely low that they would be a perfect match. The following day Aunt Betty walked into the room and gave us a thumbs up. She was a match for his kidney. It was such a bittersweet moment. I don't think we realized what a wonderful moment it was at the time. All we could focus on was losing our precious son and being in disbelief that this was even happening to us. It has been almost 5 years now and Betty is doing wonderful. We have a bond that will never be broken. C.J. loved his Aunt dearly and a miracle has happened. We will always have a part of our son near us.
C.J. was also able to donate his other kidney, liver and his heart. We were fortunate enough to hear from his other kidney recipient and hope to hear from his heart recipient in the future. Binghamton General Hospital held a flag raising for him because he was the first donor in 11 years that had donated his organs. Our son is gone but part of him still lives on and he will never be forgotten.