National Hispanic Heritage Month
Celebrating contributions by the Hispanic Community to organ, eye and tissue donation & transplantation
While working as a Wall Street broker’s assistant in 1992, Debbie Delgado-Vega was diagnosed with autoimmune liver disease. She searched for Spanish-language materials that could explain liver disease and organ donation to her family and friends only to find that these materials did not exist. Recognizing the need to educate the growing Spanish-speaking population about liver disease, she enlisted legislators, health professionals, and community leaders to help address this critical issue.
While waiting for a lifesaving liver transplant, Debbie founded the Latino Organization for Liver Awareness (LOLA). It was the first national, bilingual/bicultural voluntary organization to serve the Latino American communities and other underserved populations who suffer from liver disease. As the Executive Director, Debbie leads the organization and acts as its primary spokesperson.
Debbie was faced with her liver disease battle again after her first transplant. She became one of the few lucky recipients of a second liver transplant. With newfound energy, she works aggressively to lead LOLA in educating the public and advocating for legislation at all levels. LOLA's outreach and awareness campaigns have reached nearly 13 million people in over 30 states. In addition, their bilingual services have helped 50,000 Latinos who might have died without organ donation information, services and programs.
Debbie is also actively involved with other organizations that share LOLA’s mission, including the New York State Department of Health; Extended Liver Criteria Committee; the National Hepatitis Roundtable; and National Coalition on Organ Donation.
Debbie’s story is courtesy of New York Organ Donor Network, New York, NY
To learn more about donation, please visit www.organdonor.gov