Secretary of State Jesse White is hosting a virtual National Minority Donor Awareness Month to promote organ/tissue donation for multicultural communities at www.LifeGoesOn.com.
“Unfortunately, minorities are in the greatest need of organ transplants, yet they donate at a lower rate,” said White. “I encourage everyone to register to become an organ/tissue donor to help give those who are in need of the gift of life.”
Nationally, people of color comprise 59% of the waiting list for organ transplants; however, this year they accounted for only 34% of those who donated organs, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network in Illinois:
1,484 African Americans are on the waiting list, but in 2021 only 139 African Americans
880 Hispanic Americans are on the waiting list, but last year only 90 Hispanic Americans
239 Asian Americans are on the waiting list, but only 9 Asian Americans became organ
donors in 2021.
People of color are disproportionately affected by illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, which can lead to the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant, increasing the number of patients on the organ transplant waiting list, according to United Network for Organ Sharing.
Transplants can be successful regardless of the ethnicity of the donor and recipient; however, the chance of long-term survival may be greater if the donor and recipient are closely matched in terms of their shared ethic background.
More than 7.4 million people in Illinois are registered as organ/tissue donors, yet there are approximately 4,000 people waiting for transplants. Each year, 300 people in Illinois die because of the shortage of organs.
Illinoisans can register with the Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Registry online at www.LifeGoesOn.com or by calling 800-210-2106.