What is National Minority Donor Awareness Day?
National Minority Donor Awareness Day, celebrated annually on August 1, is a nationwide observance to educate minorities of the desperate need for donation and transplantation within the multicultural community and how to register their decision to donate life. This is the 15th annual National Minority Donor Awareness Day; President Clinton first recognized the observance in 1996.
Why is National Minority Donor Awareness Day important?
Minorities make up 35 percent of the U.S. population and comprise 55 percent of individuals on the U.S. transplant waiting list. In 2010, organs transplants were performed on 11,499 minority patients; while there were 2,652 minority deceased donors and 1,997 minority living donors.
In Maryland, there are more than 2,000 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants and 52 percent are minorities. In 2010, 44 percent of Maryland’s 120 donors were minorities; however, 79 percent of people transplanted in Maryland were minorities.
It is important to remember anyone can be a donor at no cost to their family/estate, regardless of age or medical history. A single donor can save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people through organ, eye and tissue donation and every major religion in the United States supports donation as one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity. Donation also does not hinder any after-death plans a person may have; an open casket funeral is possible for all organ, eye and tissue donors.
To learn more about donation or to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit www.donatelifemaryland.org.
If you are not a Maryland resident, you may visit www.donatelife.net to find your state’s online donor registry.