|COURTESY OF HOWARD UNIVERSITY|
|MONDAY, NOVEMBER 09, 2009 10:08 PM|
|Dr. Clive Callender wasn’t expected to make it past age two, much less become one of the nation’s preeminent transplant surgeons.|
His mother died giving birth to him and his twin brother, and at only 1-year-old, he contracted pneumonia. Doctor’s didn’t expect him to survive.
At age 15, he came down with tuberculosis at a time when there was no treatment. He was put into quarantine in a room with the Bible and an encyclopedia for a year and a half.
Again, doctor’s didn’t expect him to survive.
But through his faith in God and his determination, he did, and he graduated on time with his high school class. He would eventually receive his medical degree and come to Howard University Hospital, where he performed the hospital’s first ever kidney transplants, two on one day.
Meanwhile, he fought tirelessly to change the rules on organ donations so more people of color could receive them.
It is that same determination and deep devotion to others that has marked his career as a transplant surgeon and leader in the fight to make life-saving transplants more accessible to African Americans. Callender, who is a participant on the White House Physicians Forum on Health Care, is being honored on his 73rd birthday for his efforts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, during the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program’s (MOTTEP) annual awards dinner and ceremony at the Bethesda Marriott Hotel, 5141 Pooks Hill Rd., Bethesda, Md.
Community leaders, pioneers in organ and tissue donation and corporate sponsors will also be honored, said Norman Brooks, project director for MOTTEP.
Callender founded MOTTEP in 1991 to increase the number of minority organ and tissue donors.
“Because of Dr. Callender, African Americans across the country and people in the Virgin Islands, have been educated on the importance of living a healthier lifestyle and organ and tissue donation,” Brooks said. “And his efforts have led to a dramatic increase in organ donation in the minority community.
“The increase of organ donation in the minority community went from 15 percent to 25 percent, and he’s attempting to get it to 30 percent by 2010.
Callender, who earlier this year performed a kidney transplant on D.C. Councilman Marion Barry, said he is happy to lend his name, and age, to help MOTTEP.
“It’s important for MOTTEP to have funds to help sustain themselves, and to help the minority,” he said, “and I’m happy to be celebrating my birthday. It’s an incredible feat, considering that a couple of times there I was almost dead.”
Remember to register to be an organ donor to learn how in your state go to Organ Donor.Gov