More than 123,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant, according to the American Transplant Foundation. Approximately 35 percent of those 123,000 people are African American. Although organs are not matched according to race, people who are waiting for a transplant have a higher chance of finding a match with someone of the same ethnicity since they are more likely to have compatible blood types and tissue markers.
Minorities, including African Americans, are more likely than whites to have certain chronic conditions that affect the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver, says the ATF. This makes the need for African-American donors especially high.
When you sign up to become an organ, eye, and/or tissue donor, you could possibly be saving someone’s life! In honor of National Donate Life Month, here are five reasons to register today.
1. People are waiting…at this very moment for a transplant.
A new name is added to the national transplant waiting list every 12 minutes. What’s even more heartbreaking is the fact that more than 6,500 people die every year before ever receiving a transplant.
Take for example, the 6-year-old Dylan from Atlanta.
According to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, “Dylan was staying on the cardiac floor awaiting a transplant during his kindergarten graduation, but that didn’t mean this 6-year-old had to miss out on the fun. Thanks to his determination and The School Program at Children’s, he was able to stay on track and celebrate with a big smile — complete with cap, gown and diploma. Now, as his classmates go back to school, he’s gearing up to make 1st grade another one for the books!”
2. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
It’s difficult to imagine, but what if you or a loved one needed a transplant? Wouldn’t you want someone to find it in their heart to donate whatever it was that you or your family member needed? When you sign up to become a donor, you’re giving the gift of life. In many cases, your donation can help someone regain mobility and live a happier, fuller life.