National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month
Get the facts about donation and transplantation:
All major religions support donation, and many view it as an act of love and generosity.
Anyone of any age or with any kind of medical history can choose to sign up to save lives through donation. Even people with chronic medical conditions and infectious diseases may be able to donate. Don’t rule yourself out; you may be able to save lives!
Your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor will not interfere with your medical care. Doctors and nurses caring for you before death are not involved in the donation process.
Donation doesn’t cost you or your family anything. Hospital expenses incurred before the donation of organs, eyes or tissues and funeral expenses remain the responsibility of the donor’s family.
The reason: The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA). HLA antigens are proteins found on most cells in our bodies. These antigens are inherited as a unique set from our parents and regulate the immune system. When it comes to kidney matching—the organ most needed by African American and Black candidates —HLA plays a big role. This is because HLA antigens between Caucasian and African American candidates do not match as well. Currently, African Americans make up more than 1/3 of the kidney transplant waiting list nationally, yet only around 13% of the general population. This creates a smaller pool of potential donor organs from African American donors and means that African American transplant candidates may rely on organs that do not match as well or may have to wait longer for a more suitable match.