What you should know about National Minority Donor Awareness Month
August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month – a collaborative effort by national organizations to save and improve the quality of life of diverse communities by creating a positive culture for organ, eye and tissue donation.
In honor of National Minority Donor Awareness Month, Dr. Meera Gupta, transplant surgeon and surgical director of the Living Donor Kidney Program at the UK Transplant Center, answered a few of the most important questions about the importance of organ donation.
What is National Minority Donor Awareness Month?
National Minority Donor Awareness Month is a collaborative initiative to save and improve the quality of life of diverse communities by creating a positive culture for organ, eye and tissue donation.
The groups collaborating on the event include Donate Life America, the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, Health Resources and Services Administration, Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, and National Kidney Foundation.
Why is National Minority Donor Awareness Month such an important initiative?
Minorities are the most underrepresented cohort in both living and deceased donation.
If we want equity in our healthcare community, we should include them in our donor opportunities as well. There might be a stigma of poor donor candidacy associated with being a minority, but it’s our job to ensure that every potential candidate has an opportunity to donate.
It’s also good to bring heightened awareness to donation and transplantation in multicultural communities.
Do the donor and recipient have to match in terms of genetic backgrounds?
No, ethnicity doesn’t matter in regard to matching. The only thing that needs to match is blood type and antibody profiles.
Sometimes there is a better chance of matching with someone you are related to, but you would not know for sure unless you were tested – and being related does not necessarily mean you’ll match.
Does it cost money to be a donor?
No, it’s free.
Can I have an open casket funeral if I donate my organs?
What’s a living donor?
A living donor is someone who donates a single kidney or part of their liver to someone to save their life or improve their quality of life, while also being able to maintain their own quality of life.
Why should I register to be an organ donor?
You never know who it might help! It may help a child or young adult who will one day become a great scientist, politician or famous musician.
It’s a personal preference and, for many, a personal contribution. Organ donation is a way to help someone else and continue your legacy by donating organs as a gift of life to someone whose life may be saved.