Martin W. Clarke Jr.
Working to increase the rate of registry enrollments
I met Martin Clarke Jr. at the North Shore Donate Life Day event on April 21. He shook my hand firmly that afternoon and looked me straight in the eye. When I visited him at his home, he again shook my hand firmly and looked at me in the same direct way. I knew that he had a mission and that he would successfully meet his goals. The fact that he was fifteen years old would not be a factor in limiting his goal of promoting organ donation and moving New York State out of the bottom rung of donation rates for the country.
Martin Clarke is a Life Scout of Manhasset Boy Scout Troop 97 and is working industriously to become an Eagle Scout. He does so as a tribute to his grandfather Angelo Stekardis who was a lung transplant recipient and who passed away on December 30, 2014. Martin and his volunteers have signed up over one hundred organ donors, (which has the potential to save as many as 800 lives and improve the lives of 5000) since he began his efforts, and, perhaps more importantly, has some really interesting ideas on how to exponentially increase the rate of donation. He wants to maximize his labors by training Boy Scouts and others to work on behalf of organ donation. He and mom Linda view his efforts as something of value that can be easily duplicated and will also be helpful for those teenagers looking to build up their college resumés with vital extracurricular activities.
Martin aims to further spread the word about organ donation by working with the marketing department of LiveOnNY to create a YouTube video.
Martin began to effectuate his strategy of recreating his efforts by training Boy Scouts at the Manhasset Public Library. Martin and his mother maintain binders filled with photographs and documents documenting all of his Scout activities in connection with organ donation. They display the proud accomplishments befitting someone much older but Martin is only on the cusp of even greater actions to benefit others. He wrote skits that he and his fellow Scouts performed to dispel the myths that surround organ donation. He has met with transplant doctors at North Shore University Hospital and spoken on two dates in April at the hospital. North Shore’s Dr. Molmenti has invited Martin to observe surgery at the hospital when he turns 17. Martin, recommended for Honors Science next year, is interested in medical science, astrophysics, and zoology. Martin and his volunteers held organ donor drives at St. Mary’s Church Manhasset and the Manhasset Girl Scout Association in April as well as the Plandome Fire Department in May (Martin’s dad serves as a volunteer there). He was able to speak from the pulpit at St. Mary’s to friends and neighbors about his grandfather and the benefits of transplantation. He even arranged with Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza to donate 20% on Thursdays to people who mention his organ donation campaign.
Various food chains, including Entenmann’s and Whole Foods, gave donations which will go to organ donation organizations. Martin came up with the idea of applying a sticker with his name and affiliation on the organ donor sign-up card so that his contribution to the cause could be tracked. As his mom Linda pointed out, the effort does not stop there. Although he already has 100 sign-ups, people may take the card, consider it, discuss it with others, and send in the card later.
At the age of 15, Martin has as full a life as can be imagined. Besides his deep involvement in organ donation activities, he is on the Manhasset Crew team, Manhasset Art Honor Society, and the Sci-Fi Club. He planted flags at Long Island National Cemetery and then led a camping trip as Senior Patrol Leader. As mother Linda wrote, “He has a pretty exciting life, I just try to make sure his uniform is clean and I have lots of food on hand.”
Based on his concerted effort to sign up organ donors and to have others multiply his efforts, it appears Martin will be successful in whatever he chooses to do with is life in the future. His ease and authority with people is very evident in every conversation. His grandfather Angelo Stekardis was himself a staunch advocate for organ donation and he has passed his enthusiasm onto Martin. He would be very proud of his future Eagle Scout and the way in which he deals with people and his efforts to save lives via organ donation. Martin invites every member of Long Island TRIO to copy his methods and raise New York to a higher donation rate. If you need help starting your own Organ Donor Drive honoring a loved one contact Martin Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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