Lake View Woman Turning Personal Tragedy Into Call For Organ Donation

A Lake View woman is turning the tragic loss of her young husband into a mission to help others by promoting organ donation. On January 31st, Maria Cousin’s husband, Brian, suffered a fatal brain aneurysm while driving with their 14-year-old son. Despite efforts to revive him, Brian was declared dead the next day, marking the 26th anniversary of their first date. Unknown to Maria, Brian had registered as an organ donor, a decision that has brought solace during her grieving process. Brian’s kidneys and heart have since been donated, giving life to others in Virginia and spreading the spirit of Western New York beyond its borders.

Maria is now a passionate advocate for organ donation, working with New York State Donate Life to increase registration. Although 86% of New Yorkers support organ donation, only 48% are registered. To address this gap, Donate Life is expanding registration options beyond driver’s licenses to include health insurance, hunting, and fishing licenses. This effort aims to make it easier for people to document their support for organ donation, ultimately saving more lives. In Buffalo, ECMC stands out with the shortest wait time for kidney transplants in the country, a notable achievement in a state where average wait times range from five to seven years.

Maria credits her family, friends, co-workers at Chautauqua Lake Central School District, where she teaches, and Brian’s colleagues at West Herr Automotive Group for their support during this challenging time. Her advocacy continues to honor Brian’s legacy and promote the life-saving importance of organ donation. For those interested in becoming an organ donor, more information is available on

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