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Advocates hope new law will boost organ donation

Starting at this time next year, anyone over the age of 18 who is getting a new driver's license will have to declare whether or not they want to be an organ donor.

Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs says because the question is currently optional, many people skip it.  

"We believe that this will be a significant step to encourage those to really think about organ donation and not just pass over it. Sometimes they pass over it without even knowing [and] if they did know, they would want to sign up," Jacobs said at a news conference Monday morning.

Lauren's Law is named for 12-year-old Lauren Shields from Stony Point, New York.  After surviving a heart transplant in 2009, Lauren pushed state lawmakers to support the measure designed to increase organ donation.  

UNYTS CEO and President Mark Simon says close to 1,000 people in Western New York are on a waiting list for a transplant. 

"We need our friends and neighbors to sign up on the registry when they can and build that registry, so when families are faced with the difficult decision to donate at the hospital, they'll know the wishes of their loved ones," Simon said.

Lauren's Law, which was recently signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, takes effect in about a year.