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.