Donation in Communities of Color

Communities of color are facing a public health crisis and are in desperate need of more organ, eye, and tissue donors.

Why is it important for people of every community to donate?

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), transplants can be successful regardless of the race or ethnicity of the donor and recipient. The chance of longer-term survival may be greater if the donor and recipient are closely matched in terms of their shared genetic background.

People of African American/Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native, and multiracial descent currently make up 60% of individuals on the national organ transplant waiting list. According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), African Americans/Blacks suffer from kidney failure at a significantly higher rate than Whites — more than 3 times higher. African Americans/Blacks represent 13.2% of the overall U.S. population and more than 35% of all patients in the U.S. receiving dialysis for kidney failure.

Get informed, have a conversation

The vast majority of Americans support donation as an opportunity to give life and health to others. Unfortunately, many people overlook the important step of registering as a donor and sharing their decision with family.

Donors are often people who die suddenly and unexpectedly. Their families are then faced with either making the decision or learning of your decision, at a time of shock and grief. Registering and having a conversation with your family relieves your family of this burden.

Learn more about raising awareness in your community!

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month. A national campaign established in 1996 to celebrate and promote awareness for donation in communities of color. Learn more: https://www.donatelife.net/nmdam/

Stories of Hope

Joyce Baker
Double Lung Recipient

“I wasn’t an organ donor before my transplant. I didn’t really know too much about it. I didn’t know anyone who had a transplant of any kind. I wish I had become educated sooner. I wouldn’t be able to do these things if it weren’t for my donor. I’m so thankful for him and his family for their unselfishness and generosity. I feel sorrowful for his family, I can never repay them. I can only promise to take good care of the gift he has given me. As a recipient, I want to talk about how important it is to be an organ donor. I feel obligated to pay it forward and help spread the word. There is more need than there is supply. If we raise awareness, then more people in need will receive the gift of life before it’s too late.”

Learn about Joyce and her organ donor, Antonio Espinoza.

BJ Miller

Organ and Cornea Donor

“BJ became interested in organ donation after watching a special on the Discovery Channel that dealt with a young man who was killed in a car accident, and the lives he saved as a result.  After the program, he looked at us and said he needed to become an organ donor, and just how touched he was at the events he witnessed on TV. Two days after his 19th birthday, BJ was involved in a fatal car accident. When we, his parents, were faced with the despair that our son would not survive, we knew it was the right thing to do donate his organs.” – Daria Miller, donor mom

Read more about BJ Miller.

Miranda Burland

Kidney/Pancreas Recipient

Miranda knew that her second chance at life would come at the price of another family’s loss; a bittersweet feeling. “I have been given the chance to live a longer, healthier and happier life and the donor’s family have lost their loved one, which sits with me every day, but a piece of them still lives on through me. With this family choosing to have themselves and their loved one become a donor it comes down to what has been given and what has been lost.”

Julie Shepherd

Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donor

“Organ donation is the most extreme emotional roller coaster possible. The extreme high that comes with the happiness and pride we have in our daughter’s ability to help others is immediately followed by the extreme low we feel at losing her. Those feelings roll around, go back and forth, up and down inside us. Although it is difficult, we know whole-heartedly that the donation was the right decision. We love the idea that something good came from Julie’s death.” – Derrek and Janene Shepherd, donor parents

Read more about Julie.

Ameen Tabatabai

Liver Recipient

“It is a remarkable gift that I am deeply thankful for. Without my donor, I wouldn’t be here today. Through your selfless and noble decision, I can finally pursue my dreams and be myself again. In my life, I have the opportunity to show the world the power of organ donation. And as a transplant recipient, I carry a legacy that I am incredibly honored and thankful to be a part of. For the rest of my life, I will cherish it, and pass it on to the people around me. I have been blessed with a second chance at life.”

Jonathan Sim

Organ Donor

“I was not ready to let him go so suddenly. I wanted to cling to every possible minute that I had with him, even if that meant his organs would no longer be viable for donation. My friends lovingly reminded me that Johnathan was all about leaving a legacy – that he would have wanted nothing more than to give life to others even in his last days. His organ donation has helped to bring healing and hope back into my life.” – Kelly Sim, donor wife

Read more about Jonathan Sim.