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New York State lags behind when it comes to organ donors

Posted at 8:15 PM, Nov 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-08 12:47:52-05

One year ago, Jacob Brunson, 49, went for testing after friends noticed a change in him last year. Results showed his liver enzymes were too high and other parts of his body began shutting down. 

"I'm not able to do a lot of things anymore," Jacob said. "I'm not able to walk around anymore."

Cleveland Clinic doctors say he is in need of a liver transplant and needs a specialized procedure called a split liver transplant. 

Brunson even has a GoFundMe page, for people who would like to donate.

"I'm just trying to save my life. I want to be here," he said.

Brunson adopted two biological brothers when he was in his twenties. 

"These boys are my everything. No matter what they go through, I always want to be there for them," Brunson said. 

Doctors say the possibility of getting a liver are high in the spring or summer by 2018, but Brunson figures he can't make it that long.

Jacob has been in and out of the hospital at least seven times since his diagnosis.

UNYTS says 124,000 people are awaiting transplants in the United States and Brunson is part of the 10% of those from New York State.

According to UNYTS, 53% of Americans are registered organ donors, but in New York, only 25% are. 

There is a new way to become an organ donor in New York through the new enhanced organ donor registry. 

UNYTS says if you can donate, it is important to make your wishes known.