Gift of Hope and Loretto Hospital are celebrating National Minority Donor Awareness Month with a series of activities in the hospital and within the surrounding Austin and Oak Park neighborhoods to honor the lasting legacy of donors and their families.
During the month of August, Loretto Hospital will feature local organ and tissue donors on a video montage throughout its internal TV circuit. The broadcast will allow the community to meet donors like 18-year-old Evan Porter, a 2nd year college student as well as an avid musician. Evan became a tissue donor after passing away at Loretto Hospital from cardiac arrest in 2019. Before he passed, Evan wrote a special poem titled “My Afterglow,” a fitting description of the lasting legacy Evan and other donors like him have left in the world through the gift of donation.
Gift of Hope encourages the community to visit the outdoor donation-themed mural, which cascades over the side of Loretto Hospital, to reflect on the lifesaving gifts of donors and their families.
In Illinois, 1,450 African Americans, 800 Hispanic Americans and 240 Asian Americans are on the transplant waiting list. National Minority Donor Awareness Month (NMDAM) provides the perfect opportunity to spread the word about the need for lifesaving organs and empower minorities to “Say Yes” to organ and tissue donation by becoming registered donors and by authorizing donation on a loved one’s behalf.
“It is of extreme importance to all of us at Loretto Hospital to honor all of those that have given the ultimate sign of hope, providing the chance to live to another human being,” said George Miller Jr., President & CEO of Loretto Hospital. “This month we want to highlight our diverse community while we continue to raise awareness and invite our residents, patients, family and friends to join the organ and tissue donor registry.”
Ethnic minorities make up nearly 60% of people who are waiting for lifesaving organs in the U.S., but only a third of registered donors. Because transplant success rates are higher when the organ comes from a donor of the same ethnic background, there is a critical need for African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans to register as organ and tissue donors, notes Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network of Illinois.
“It is an honor to collaborate with Loretto Hospital as they are always allowing us to build layers to which we consider a strong foundation in making organ and tissue donation the social norm,” said Marion Shuck, Director, Donor Family Services and Community Outreach. “When you find partners in the medical field, as Loretto Hospital is to us, it encourages us to find innovative ways to be inclusive of all communities and celebrate their life saving contributions.”
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. As one of 58 OPOs that make up the nation’s donation system, we work with 180 hospitals and serve 12 million people in our donation service area. Since 1986, we have saved the lives of more than 23,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients through our efforts.