A potentially life-saving new law took effect Tuesday in New York State.
Sixteen and seventeen year-olds in New York State can now register to be organ, tissue and eye donors.
The legislation was signed into law by Governor Cuomo in August of last year.
This change in law is big because a lot of teens at these ages are looking to get their learner's permits and they will now be able to register to be a donor at the same time.
New York State makes up 10 percent of the organ donation waiting list, according to UNYTS. That means about 10,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant.
Yet New York State has the least amount of people signed up to give.
Williamsville South High School partnered with UNYTS Tuesday to teach 16 and 17 year-olds about the new law and give them an opportunity to register.
"Giving life after death is a positive thing to hold on to," Sarah Diina, the Director of Marketing for UNYTS, said. "Of course every death is horrible and tragic and anyone who's young, you never want to go through that. But to be able to have that positive thing to hold on to, that they were able to give life to someone else through their death, is just so impactful."
With the new law, New York joins 48 other registries where there is either no age restriction to join the donor registry or the age minimum is younger than 18.
The previous age limit meant that parents might not know what their child's intentions were and may have been stuck making a difficult decision in a tragic situation.
This is an opportunity for that age group to let their loved ones know what they want.
However, parents of minors, including 16 and 17 year-olds, still make the final call.
You can become a donor online at unyts.com or at a local DMV.