Valpo Life | Caitlin Vanlaningham

Being an organ donor is a choice based on beliefs, morals, and values. The choice is different for each person, in each country, in each religion, in each gender, and in each race.

Among the African-American population, the need for organ donations is greater. Not because there are less registered donors, but because diseases and conditions that require organ transplants are greater among minority populations.

According to the Gift of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and Northwest Indiana, African-Americans make up about 12% of the US population. Out of those waiting for organ transplants in the US, about 29% are African-American.

Kidney failure is the most needed organ transplant among the African-American population. There are almost 31,000 African-Americans on the waiting list for kidney transplants, making up about 34% of that list. Other risk factors that can result in the need for an organ transplant among the African-American population are: high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

To combat this growing problem, the African-American Task Force (AATF) was created by the Gift of Hope. The initiative’s goal is to increase minority donation rates and provide education for African-Americans about eye, tissue, and organ donation. Continue reading