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Donate Life KY launches new awareness campaign about organ donation and transplantation

Donate Life KY has launched a new awareness campaign, “Be The One,” which will help raise awareness around organ donation and transplantation within Black communities throughout the state. Currently, populations from diverse backgrounds make up 60% of the national transplant waiting list; however, these are the cultural groups that statistically are less likely to register to be an organ donor.

“Although these communities are generous and charitable, statistically, they are less likely to register to be an organ donor. We know we need to do a better job reaching them, and that is why we’ve launched this campaign,” said Shelley Snyder, Executive Director, Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ Trust for Life. “Through education, we want everyone to know about the miracle of organ donation and how easy it is to register to be an organ donor. We’re encouraging everyone to ‘Be The One’ to help us save lives.”

Currently, there are over 100,000 people across the country awaiting a lifesaving transplant, with someone new added to the national waiting list every 10 minutes.

In 2020, those within the Black community accounted for 28% of the U.S. transplant waiting list. KODA says it is crucial to help these communities understand that registering to be an organ donor can help with this shortage and save more lives.
“The data speaks for itself as we take into account the urgency of this effort,” said Allen Gazaway, Multicultural Community Educator for Donate Life KY.

“Currently, there are 1,000 children and adults in Kentucky waiting for a lifesaving transplant. While the donor registry is confidential, extensive research shows that organ transplants have a higher rate of success among populations of similar ethnicities. We are encouraging local community members to step up and help us address this issue and save lives.”

Donate Life KY’s “Be The One” campaign focuses on helping Black communities move past the potential hesitancies associated with becoming a registered donor and being “the one” who could help give the gift of life. Some of the roadblocks in becoming an organ donor can include religious beliefs, fear of treatment by the medical community or long-standing family or social beliefs around organ donation.

Adrienne Cole, of Louisville, is an avid supporter of KODA and the organization’s mission and has personally seen the impact of organ donation. Her brother was a donor who later saved multiple lives when he passed away at the age of 30. Cole is hopeful, through this new campaign, others will make the decision to register to save lives, just as her brother did.

“My brother was in incredible health – happy and full of life,” said Cole. “At his core, he was a selfless person. When he passed, he donated eight of his organs, as well as his corneas and tissue. His gift gave eight families the ability to have their loved ones in their lives longer. To this day, 13 years after his death, I still believe organ donation is a beautiful gift for both families, because his heart is still out there, ticking, and helping someone else live life to the fullest.”

Neither age nor health prohibits someone from registering to be an organ donor. In fact, the oldest organ donor in Kentucky was 84 and she helped save three people’s lives. For more information on Donate Life KY, and how to register to be an organ donor, visit https://donatelifeky.org/why-donate/.

Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) is an organ procurement organization whose mission is to provide organ and tissues to those in need while maintaining a profound respect for those who gave. The mission of Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ Trust For Life (TFL) is to educate and encourage Kentuckians to register as organ and tissue donors while obtaining a driver’s license and beyond. These organizations partner in education and outreach and use the combined, national Donate Life brand; learn more at www.donatelifeky.org.

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