Walking for a cause

Greenville Daily Reflector

A crowd walks in observance of National Minority Donor Awareness Week at Alice F. Keene Park in Winterville Saturday morning. (Scott Davis/The Daily Reflector)

A fun run and walk were held Saturday at Alice F. Keene Park in observance of National Minority Donor Awareness Week.

The event was an effort to highlight that nearly half of the people on the national waiting list for organs are minorities, said Dwain Cooper, community relations coordinator for Carolina Donor Services. By contrast, only about 25 percent of donors are minorities.

“African-Americans make up 21.6 percent of North Carolina’s overall populations, but represent nearly 53 percent of North Carolinians waiting for an organ transplant,” Cooper said.

Of the more than 1,800 African-Americans waiting for transplants in North Carolina, 95 percent are waiting for a kidney transplant, Cooper said. In addition, diabetes, a leading cause of kidney failure in the United States, is estimated to be four to six times more common in Latinos/Hispanic-Americans. More than 120,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list, while more than 3,100 people are on North Carolina’s transplant waiting list.

On average, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant, he said. Continue reading