Gift of Life Donor Program Celebrates Black History Month
Currently, there are more than 115,000 men, women and children in the United States in need of a lifesaving or healing transplant, 30 percent of whom are of African American heritage. The chances for a successful transplant increase significantly when people of the same ethnicity are matched, so it is imperative that we continue to register more donors of all ethnic backgrounds.
Celebrating the Gift of Life
Reverend James C. Burton – Pastor of St. Luke’s UAME Church, Chester, PA
“God gave me life, my mother gave me birth - but an organ donor gave me an extension to life.”
These are the words of Reverend James C. Burton, who since receiving his gift of a life-saving liver transplant in 2000, continues to lead his church, and inspire and educate others about organ and tissue donation.
Reverend Burton has been an active member of the Gift of Life Donor Program for 12 years. He has served as a member of its Clergy Advisory Board and he currently serves as a member of the “It’s About Life” Grant Committee. In addition, Reverend Burton is an active participant in the annual National Donor Sabbath.
Reverend Burton gives thanks to his organ donor every day. In death, his donor’s incredible selfless gift gave him life. “You cannot love without giving,” said Reverend Burton. His donor gave him a second chance at life, and the ability to relish every moment with Karla, his wife of 37 years, their five children, 18 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He feels truly blessed.
Deeply aware of the magnitude of the gift he received, Reverend Burton became a staunch advocate of organ and tissue donation. Joined by his wife, First Lady Karla Burton, Reverend Burton has worked tirelessly to educate, inform, and champion organ and tissue donation registration. We honor Reverend Burton as one of the many unsung heroes in this country working to make an important difference in the lives of others.
Celebrating Donor Families
Markita Lews and Cynthia London, Donor Mothers
“Having that conversation with Marquis before he died gave me the strength, on the worst day of my life, to make the decision to give the gift of life.” - Markita Lewis. Read her story here.
"Sipho was my gift, and he brought hope to six other people at his death. Sipho was an organ donor." - Cynthia London. Read her story here.
Dr. Velma Scantlebury, Director of Kidney Transplantation, Christiana Care
To celebrate Black History Month we shed a spotlight on Dr. Velma Scantlebury, the first Black woman to become a transplant surgeon in the United States. Dr.Scantlebury has performed more than 200 kidney transplants and has worked hard to not only bring more diversity into the field of medicine, but also to increase the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors across all communities. Dr. Scantlebury is currently the associate Director of Kidney Transplantation at Christiana Care Health System. Thank you Dr. Scantlebury for all that you’ve done!
Register to Be a Donor
It’s easy to add the donor designation to your driver's license or state I.D. card. In Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Sign up today!