LifeShare Continues Commitment to Serve Diverse Population
Organization Honors National Multicultural Donor Awareness Month
Voices are united across the country to address one of the top problems in transplantation: the gap between the demand for organ transplants and supply of donated organs. As part of its commitment to serve the many diverse communities of the state, LifeShare of Oklahoma continues its outreach initiatives during August, which is National Multicultural Donor Awareness Month (NMDAM).
LifeShare is the organization designated to recover organs and tissue for transplant in Oklahoma.
“With the current waiting list at approximately 107,000 individuals from across the country and more than 60 percent of those individuals representing multicultural groups, it is very important for LifeShare to raise awareness about the need for donors,” Jeffrey Orlowski, President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeShare said. “Though a record number of nearly 40,000 people, including more than 18,000 racial and ethnic minorities, received the gift of life in 2020, the gap remains staggeringly high.”
The need for donation and transplant is more pronounced in multicultural communities where disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease contribute to organ failure. African Americans are three times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanic Americans are 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure. *
“We believe developing strategies to increase the number of organs available for transplant, and thereby increasing access to transplant for the multicultural communities at increased risk for end stage organ failure, is a crucial part of our mission. We are dedicated to increasing donation to better meet the needs of our multicultural communities,” Orlowski said.
During NMDAM, Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) such as LifeShare will highlight the need for more organ, eye and tissue donors within multicultural communities. In addition, they will provide donation education, encourage donor registration, and promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation. NMDAM is another important effort to promote the positive messages that are necessary for multicultural communities to make the decision for organ, eye and tissue donation.
To support the effort, LifeShare has created programs and resources to bring heightened awareness to donation and transplantation in multicultural communities and to bridge the gap between the demand for organ transplants and supply of donated organs.
LifeShare is a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes. We work closely with four transplant centers and 145 healthcare organizations in the state of Oklahoma to facilitate donation. Additionally, we strive to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education.
* National Kidney Foundation, as July 21, 2020, kidney.org