The 8,000 New Yorkers waiting for an organ transplant are getting some good news today.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg today launched the Organ Preservation Unit, a first-in-the-nation pilot program to expand kidney donations.

Under the new program, people who die of a heart attack outside a hospital and have already agreed to be a donor may have their kidneys preserved. Right now, many willing organ donors don't actually donate, said Bellevue Hospital Center’s Dr. Lewis Goldfrank, because they die outside a hospital.

The mayor’s office estimates that 400 people die of cardiac arrest outside of hospitals each year.

The program’s supporters told their own stories of relatives’ organ donations. “His gifts gave life to five people that were on the list waiting for an organ,” Celina Lopez said of her son, who died in a crash with a drunk driver.

In the pilot program, which continues through May, Emergency Medical Services calls will be monitored by a new Organ Preservation Unit, which will respond when resuscitation fails.