Fallen New York heroes continue to save lives. Here's how you can too.

FDNY firefighter Jesse Gerhard, 33, died last Wednesday, one day after responding to a two-alarm fire in Queens.

"This is a very difficult day for the FDNY. It is so obvious how beloved Jesse was to everyone in his life. He was so passionate about everything that he did, everything he set his mind to he accomplished. It is heartbreaking to see a young life taken so soon from a family that loved him so much," Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said Tuesday at Gerhard's wake.

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Gerhard was stationed in Far Rockaway but was from Long Island. His funeral is set for Wednesday at Saint Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Bay Shore.

Gerhard, a seven-year veteran of the Department, suffered a medical episode while on duty in his firehouse after the day after responding to the 2-alarm fire in Far Rockaway.

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FDNY
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In his death, Gerhard continues to save lives. That's because he was an organ donor, the FDNY confirmed.

"Even after Firefighter Gerhard's death he continues to save the lives of strangers as an organ donor," the FDNY wrote on Facebook.

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Gerhard, a registered organ and tissue donor. He's expected to help 50-to-75-people, officials say.

Last month, the NYPD mourned the loss of two officers killed in the line of duty. 22-year-old rookie Officer Jason Rivera and 27-year-old police officer Wilbert Mora were both killed after they responded to a domestic call in Harlem on Jan. 21.

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NYPD officials said Mora is three times a hero. His last act of service was donating his organs.

LiveOnNY says they were honored to work with Mora's family to help their loved one give the gift of life.

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Mora's donated organs saved at least five lives, officials say.

The Empire State continues to mourn the loss of Gerhard and Mora but learning both were organ donors is inspiring others to help save lives.

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NYPD/FDNY
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LiveOnNY says organ donations are up double-digits in recent weeks.

Organ donation is something that hits very close to home. Hudson Valley Post readers or WPDH listeners may have noticed I was recently out for over two weeks.

The reason, my father received his long-awaited liver transplant.

Paula Welber
Paula Welber
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My father, Elliot Welber, waited 8 years to receive his liver transplant. Deteriorating through the years as he waited.

My dad has a long recovery ahead of him, but I'm happy to report he's now recovering at home and his doctors are happy with his progress.

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Paula Welber
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He was on the transplant list for 8 years in New York. Recently, his doctor suggested he get on a transplant list in Florida. He received his new liver about 9 weeks after being placed on the transplant list in Tampa.

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B Welb
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He tells me he "shouldn't" have had to wait so long for a liver.

One reason why he did wait so long in New York is because the state is unfortunately not great when it comes to residents being organ donors.

Just 22 percent of Empire State residents are signed up to donate their organs. The national average is 47 percent.

Last year, I learned how simple it is to become an organ donor in New York. I simply had to click one button when I renewed my license.

Here are some simple ways to sign up in New York.

Photo by Kevin Kandlbinder on Unsplash
Photo by Kevin Kandlbinder on Unsplash
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Here are the organs or tissues that you can donate.

Transporting a Human Organ for Transplant
Getty Images/iStockphoto
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  • Organs include: heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines.
  • Tissues include: eyes/corneas, skin, bone, ligament, blood vessels, nerve, cartilage and connective tissues.

 

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