Minorities Urged To Become Potential Organ Donors

(CBS) — Did you know more than 117,000 people are currently on the waiting list for an organ donation?

The majority of them are minorities, yet minorities are much less likely to donate their organs.

As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, there’s a push in Illinois to change that.

“I’m proud of him for stepping up,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson says.

He’s talking about his son’s decision to give him a kidney. Johnson joined Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White Tuesday to promote organ donation as part of National Minority Donor Awareness Week.

According to national statistics, minorities make up more than 58 percent of the organ donation waiting list. Yet only 33 percent of organ donors are minorities.

Many believe that’s due in large part to widespread misconceptions among minorities, White says.

Some of these myths: “The doctor will not put forth a genuine effort to save me while I’m on life support; or, that ‘My religion will forbid me from participating in this program,’ or ‘They’re going to sell my organs.’”

White says: “We don’t sell organs in this country.”

Luis Leanos says he was one of the misinformed — until his father needed a kidney and he decided to be a donor.

“They think by you donating you’re going to need medication. Not true, either. I gave my kidney and I’m fine and well,” he says.

Organ recipients –including Darvece Monson — hope raising awareness will prompt more minorities to become donors. She received a kidney from her niece, 11-year-old Takiya Holmes, who was shot and killed in Chicago in February.

“Every day I live to make her proud, to know that her memory is not in vain,” Monson says.

For more information, go to lifegoeson.com.

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