Observed annually from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates and celebrates the accomplishments of Latin Americans across the nation. From submarines to the beginnings of color television, many inventions, discoveries and contributions made by Hispanic individuals have helped pave the way for a brighter future for Hispanic communities in the United States. That future however, may be in jeopardy for the more than 24,000 Hispanics on the national transplant waiting list. One contribution every Hispanic American can make that will positively affect the lives of thousands of individuals is to designate themselves as an organ, eye, and tissue donor through their state donor registry.
While the waiting list numbers are high, the percentage of Hispanics registered as a donor remains relatively low, comparatively. Often times myths regarding donation serve as a barrier preventing Hispanics from registering as a donor. Although transplantation is possible between individuals of any race, the chances for a successful transplant increase significantly when people of the same ethnicity are matched, so it is imperative that we continue to register more donors of all ethnic backgrounds.
Last year 4,133 Hispanics received organ transplants in United States. We can increase that number to save more lives, and provide hope for more people waiting on the transplant list for second chance at life. Sometimes it only takes one conversation to make all the difference in the world.
When BJ was 19 years old he mentioned to his father that he’d like to be a donor if anything were to happen to him. That comment saved the lives of six individuals who received BJ’s organs and corneas. Now his mom, Daria, volunteers with LifeCenter Northwest, sharing her experience with donation and how it has helped her in the healing process. Click here to watch BJ’s story
As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, LifeCenter Northwest wants to focus on providing resources about donation and transplantation, inspiring more Hispanics to learn about the benefits of the gift of life, and encouraging everyone to talk to their loved ones about organ, eye and tissue donation all year long.