National Minority Donor Awareness Week, celebrated annually August 1-7, is a nationwide observance to educate minorities of the desperate need for donation and transplantation within the multicultural community and how to register their decision to Donate Life. In New York State, minorities represent 30 percent of the population , but approximately 65 percent of those on New York's transplant waiting list are minorities. While people of all ages and ethnicities can save and enhance lives through donation, organs are matched to recipients by a variety of factors—such as blood and tissue type—which can vary by race and ethnicity. While skin color is not a barrier when it comes to organ donations and transplants, the odds of a transplant being successful are much greater when a minority recipient receives an organ from a minority donor.
People of most races and ethnicities in the U.S. donate in proportion to their representation in the population. The need for transplant in some groups, however, is disproportionately high, frequently due to a high incidence of conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, both of which can lead to the need for a kidney transplant.
For example, African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latinos are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end-stage renal (kidney) disease, often as the result of high blood pressure and other conditions that can damage the kidneys. Nearly 40 percent of the 8,280 people on New York's waiting list for a kidney transplant are African American. Continue reading
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