About / Donor Awareness for Communities of Color

About the NEED | Be INSPIRED | Understand the TRUTH

THE NEED

More than half of the candidates waiting for a life-saving transplant are from communities of color. This is largely because some diseases that cause end-stage organ failure are more common in these populations than in the general population.

African American
The largest group of communities of color in need of an organ transplant is African American. While 28.7 percent of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are African Americans, they comprised 12.5 percent of organ donors in 2019.

Mistrust of the medical community among African Americans is not uncommon and not without historical justification.

Majority of African Americans are blood group B. This is the least common of the blood in the population and this is one of the reasons African Americans may wait longer for a transplant.

Asian American & Pacific Islander
In 2019 8.3% of the total candidates waiting for transplants were Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. But they only comprised of 3.3% of organ donors.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders suffer significantly from liver disease and hepatitis. These conditions are known to put patients at risk for liver failure.

11,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are waiting for an organ transplant.

Native American
More Native Americans are in need of life-saving organ transplants than there are Native Americans registered to be donors.

Native American adults have more diabetes than any other race. One-half of American Indian adults are diagnosed with diabetes.

Traditional burial ceremonies are still an option after donation.

LatinX
LatinX make up 20% of all the people waiting for an organ transplant.

Within the LatinX community most do not realize that the Catholic Church supports organ donation.

In 2018 16.4% of all transplants recipients were LatinX.

STORIES OF INSPIRATION

Curtisha

Curtisha | Kidney Recipient

“Sharing your decision about donation with your loved ones is one of the most important steps to becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor. Knowing a loved one’s decision about donation prior to the difficult time of losing a loved one can bring comfort to families. Your decision to become a donor, gives hope to the 115,000 people in the United States currently on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant. Receiving a kidney transplant has been life changing.  If it were not for the “selfless” gift of my donor and his family, I would not have the quality of life that I enjoy today.  Organ donors save lives.  I am proof.”

Ramiro

Ramiro | Liver Recipient

“I am living proof of the generosity of others, the power of prayer, and the invaluable support that Gift of Life gave me and my family before and after my transplant. I received the most precious gift, “the gift of life.” I am a lucky person and I am grateful for my donor and their family. Because of their gift my work has allowed me to travel the world with a message of hope and inspiration for people who have been marginalized and have been forgotten. Over the years, my transplant experience made me realize there is good in this world and we need to appreciate that we are alive”.

Wen

Wen | Kidney Recipient

“I was on dialysis for one year and during that time could not get a good night’s sleep. Someone was willing to donate their loved ones organs to a stranger. This is unconditional love, as well as love from God. I carry with me every day hope and best wishes from my donor and their family. Prior to my transplant the love I had for others was limited to my family, my daughter and my friends. When I received my kidney transplant, it changed my outlook on life. Now, I want to extend my love into the world.”

TEN TRUTHS

  1. While 95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor, only 56% are registered organ donors.
  2. Donation is consistent with the beliefs of most major religions. If you are uncertain, talk with a member of your faith’s clergy.
  3. A patient’s family may be charged for final life-saving efforts, but costs related to organ donation are covered by the transplant recipient.
  4. People on the waiting list are treated equally. Many factors determine their place on the list, but not wealth or fame.
  5. Organ donation rules call for additional testing, at no cost to the family, to confirm a patient’s death prior to becoming an organ donor.
  6. The decision to use your organs is based on strict medical criteria, not age. If you are an organ donor, doctors will decide at the time of your death whether your organs and tissues are suitable for transplantation.
  7. Organ and tissue donation removal leaves no marks or body changes that would be visible when a person is clothed and in a casket.
  8. Very few conditions disqualify a person from donation. Each organ and tissue is evaluated separately.
  9. Organs that can be donated: heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine.
  10. Tissue that can be donated: heart valves, corneas, bones, skin, ligaments & tendons, bone marrow blood vessels, blood.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplant | amat1.org
National MOTTEP | natlmottep.org
United States Department of Heatlh and Human Services | minorityhealth.hhs.gov

Sources for this webpage include:

  • Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantion
  • JAMA Network
  • Journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States
  • National Hispanic Health Foundation
  • National Library of Medicine | National Institutes of Health
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services