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National Minority Donor Awareness Day

OW Staff | 7/23/2009, 5 p.m.

Donation is critical to the more than 13,500 Californians waiting desperately for transplants who come from the multi-cultural community; more than 40 percent of those waiting reside in the Southland. Nationally, nearly 100,000 people of all ages, races, and religions anxiously wait for life-saving or enhancing transplants.

National Minority Donor Awareness Day will be observed on Friday, Aug. 1, to inspire organ and tissue donation among African American, Latino, Asian, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander and Native American populations.

"There are over 28,000 donors of all ethnic backgrounds and races who save the lives of thousands of people and provide tissue for over a million people each year. Last year alone, more than 10,000 minorities received organ transplants," said Ralph D. Sutton, African American Community Development Coordinator for OneLegacy, the non-profit organ and tissue recovery agency serving the greater Los Angeles area. "These figures reflect the importance of donation in our local multi-cultural community, where we see the consent rate to become an organ and tissue donor steadily increasing."

According to 2007 Donate Life California Organ and Tissue registry statistics, the Southland's multi-cultural community benefits directly from the generosity of their own, with people of color accounting for almost 80 percent of kidney recipients.

Kidneys represent the organ of greatest need across all ethnicities. Interestingly, the percentage of multicultural kidney transplant recipients is virtually identical to the percentage on the waiting list, which demonstrates the fairness of organ allocation rules. The proportion of African Americans waiting for kidneys is two-and-a-half times their share of the general population.

Since 1977, OneLegacy has served as the bridge between donors and patients awaiting life-saving transplants. Those wishing to make the commitment to donate may register online at www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org. For more information, call OneLegacy at (800) 786-4077 or visit www.onelegacy.org.