Rea Konowish’s husband, Paul, fathered three children, and was a business owner and an organ donor.

After a sudden death, Konowish said his organs were able to help others. She said one recipient made sure to share their gratitude her, saying in a letter that he was a burn victim who received Paul’s tissue.

What You Need To Know

  • For Donate Life Month, St. Joseph's Health in Syracuse held a flag-raising ceremony

  • Staff said New York state has the lowest amount of organ donors

  • Donate Life New York State’s website says one organ donor can save eight lives and heal 75 more through eye and tissue donation

“With the help of Paul's donation, they were able to graft the tissue and then the skin was applied, I imagine through surgery, to grow again. And after 3 1/2 months of not walking, he was able to see that his skin was repairing and he was able to walk again. And dozens of surgeries later, Paul's act of kindness, which we think is so monumental, made the difference in his life," Konowich said.

She, along with staff from St. Joseph’s Health, are encouraging others to become organ donors. They said New York ranks last in the nation in the number of organ donors.

There are 8,085 New Yorkers waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, according to Donate Life New York State.

“The need for the organs is very high in the public. The waiting list is huge, but the transplants and the organs are very few," said Dorgram Badran, a doctor at St. Joseph's Health.

Badran is the chair of the Organ Donor Council. St. Joseph’s Health honors donors in several ways, including with their “Bridge of Life.”

Konowish is proud her husband’s donations have helped give life to others.

“Now he lives on in a legacy not only to our love, but what he passed on to another person. A total stranger is benefiting from being a caring person," she said.