Concert for a Cause



On July 24, the amphitheater in Flushing pulsated with life. The music of Remedy, an electrifying band whose leader is from Flushing, filled the air. The free concert was hosted by Senator John Gleason to promote awareness for a subject dear to his heart. Organ donation is a topic that few wish to think about, but many people are not prepared if the worst happens. A kidney transplant recipient himself, Gleason is determined to make everyone aware of the importance of signing up to be a donor in the event of a fatal accident.

“The statistics are heartbreaking,” says the Senator. “There are now over 129,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a transplant of some kind and every day, 18 people die waiting.” Gleason received a kidney from his sister, Rita, in 2001, but not all patients are lucky enough to have a familial match, or even to require an organ that a living donor can give. John is working on a variety of fronts to bridge the gap between the living and those waiting to live. “This is my passion,” he said. “I’ve been given this gift and now I need to make sure other people get theirs.” In addition to this annual event, Gleason has passed important state legislation that clarifies a person’s donation status on their driver’s license. Other legislation introduced by Gleason added organ donation information to the state’s Driver’s Education curriculum.

Outside of the Capitol, John stands by his cause. “Whenever I have a couple of hours free, I hand out pamphlets on organ donation by the Secretary of State’s office,” he says. He calls the recent concert “one of the most important days of the year” on his calendar, and says that it is a joy to witness people signing up to give life to others. After the music, several transplant recipients gave their testimonies, and directed those who wished to register for donation to volunteers on hand at the event.


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