Donor Alliance in the Community
In the month of February, we not only celebrate Valentine’s Day, known as the day when we celebrate love for our family, friends and partners. We also celebrate National Donor Day, American Heart Month and Black History Month. A perfect blend of 4 interrelated themes that invite us to talk about love, awareness, and community.
National Donor Day, Time to have a #heartconversation
Since 1988, February 14 is celebrated as National Donor Day, a day to raise awareness about the importance of organ, eyes, tissue, bone marrow and blood donation. It is also a reminder that in the U.S. today, there are more than 100,000 people on the national waiting list for a life-saving transplant. Every 10 minutes a person is added to the waiting list, which is why it is important that we can have a #heartconversation with our loved ones about organ and tissue donation, to inform ourselves and consider registering as organ, eyes and tissue donors. One person can save and heal more than 75 lives, the impact that we generate when we register as donors is immense in addition to giving hope to those who are waiting. We encourage you to have a #heartconversation with your family and friends, and spread awareness in your community, also invite you to think about and honor those who said yes to donation that left behind their legacy by giving life to those in need.
American Heart Month
In February, we also celebrate American Heart Month, a month when we as a country must pay attention to heart disease as it is the leading cause of death in the United States.
We must consider that the Coronavirus pandemic impacted the nation’s heart health. The lock down caused many people to adopt unhealthy lifestyles such as eating poorly, not exercising and even drinking more alcohol, all of which contribute to heart disease, heart health remains a major threat to the health of Americans and the leading cause of death worldwide, according to statistics provided by the American Heart Association (AHA)
During American Heart Month, the AHA and other organizations reinforce the importance of heart health, the need for more research and efforts to ensure that millions of people live longer, healthier lives.
PREVENTION IS VITAL
In most cases, we can prevent heart disease or the possibility of needing a heart transplant by adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking simple and basic measures such as:
– Not Smoking
– Maintaining a healthy weight
– Controlling your sugar intake and cholesterol.
– Treating high blood pressure
– Being physically active
You can find more information about how to prevent heart disease at any age on the American Heart Association’s AHA website.
Black History Month
Each February we also celebrate Black History Month when we focus on recognizing the achievements and contributions of African American citizens in the United States, and invite us to reflect on the hardships, prejudices and inequalities they have experienced throughout history.
For Black History Month, we want to highlight donors, donor families, living donors, transplant recipients and advocates of donation from the African American community in the United States. These members take pride in serving their communities, and many advocates educate and share their personal stories about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African Americans represent approximately 12.2% of the U.S. population. More than 29,000 African Americans are waiting for an organ transplant, accounting for approximately 28% of the national waiting list. They are also the largest minority group in need of an organ transplant.
Tony Young’s Story, Heart and Kidney Recipient
Tony Young had his first heart attack at the young age of 25, and a second in his 30s which radically changed his life as he formally entered the waiting list for a heart transplant in 2019.
“A total whirlwind. I started to decline rapidly. I contacted my cardiologist’s office to tell her how I was feeling and was told to come in that morning. She sat down with me, looked at me, told me she had known me for a long time and just by looking at me she had a feeling she was going to have to admit me. That afternoon I had a right heart catheterization and was told I would not leave the hospital with my native heart. The staff was amazing, I couldn’t have gone through the quick process without them.”
After a month in the hospital and accompanied by family and friends, on a Saturday morning, the medical team arrived to tell him they had a donor for him.
After a whirlwind of paperwork, surgeons, anesthesiologists, family, friends, phone calls and text messages, Tony received his new heart.
It has been 3 years since Tony received the gift of Life, thanks to this he can continue to enjoy the things he loves so much like walking, cooking, driving his car listening to Slayer or another metal or rock and roll band. Tony loves music and it is an important part of his life. In addition, Tony is part of the volunteer program at Donor Alliance and Donate Life Colorado.
Today, we honor the donor and his family who said Yes to donation and celebrate the life of our dear Tony.
This February we invite you to talk with your family and loved ones about organ and tissue donation by having a #heartconversation about this important topic. We encourage you to stay informed and raise awareness on how it affects and impacts different communities. Also, to take care of your heart, literally.
To register as an organ, eye and tissue donor you can say Yes at the DMV when you apply for your driver’s license or by logging on to DonateLifeColorado.org