Saturday, August 3, 2019

Caring Causes: National Minority Donor Awareness Week

August 1st - 7th is recognized as National Minority Donor Awareness Week, which was created in 1998 to increase our nation’s consciousness of the need for more organ and tissue donors -- especially among multicultural communities. National Minority Donor Awareness Week honors communities of color who have been donors, and encourages others to register as donors. It is about empowering multicultural communities to save and heal lives by registering as organ and tissue donors.

As of August 2018, 58% of the individuals waiting on a life-saving transplant in the United States are multicultural patients. Hispanics represent nearly 20% of the patients on the national transplant waiting list. In 2016, nearly 13% of U.S. organ donors were Hispanic. Although organs are not matched according to ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, individuals waiting for an organ and/or tissue transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers (which are critical qualities for donor/recipient matching) are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity.

COTA’s Soto-Velasco family of Bellemont, Arizona, knows these challenges all too well.

COTA uniquely understands that parents who care for a child or young adult before, during and after a life-saving transplant have enough to deal with, so COTA’s model shifts the responsibility for fundraising to a community team of trained volunteers. On September 12, 2016, Dulce and Manuel officially became part of the COTA Family, and a COTA fundraising specialist travelled to their Arizona hometown to train the volunteers for the COTA campaign in honor of Itzel S. COTA is a 501(c)3 charity so all contributions to COTA are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law, and COTA funds are available for a lifetime of transplant-related expenses.

August 1st – 7th is National Minority Donor Awareness Week. Many COTA families are waiting for their children and young adults to be matched to an organ or tissue donor. You can visit to indicate your wish to be a life-saving donor. Every day 22 people die waiting for an organ transplant here in the United States. One organ donor can save eight lives.

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