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National Minority Donor Awareness Week

This special observance, August 1-7, honors heroes from communities of color who have gone on to be donors, and encourages others to register as organ and tissue donors.


National Minority Donor Awareness Week is August 1 – 7. The goal of this annual observance is to increase organ donor registrations among communities of color, which make up more than 50 percent of the more than 113,000 people on the national waitlist for life-saving organ transplants and to honor those have been organ and tissue donors.

Education is so important, especially among communities of color, where myths and misconceptions are more prevalent.

There are more than 5,000 men, women and children on the waitlist in Gift of Life Donor Program’s region, which includes the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

Pictured: Onyi Kenine, liver transplant recipient and family

Onyi’s Story

Onyi Kenine received a life-saving liver transplant as an infant and it has never held her back from living a normal, healthy life. Her donor is always in her mind as she lives the best life she can.

Watch this video to learn more about Onyi.

Organ Donation among African Americans
  • 40% of people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in Gift of Life’s service region are African American.
  • Of the 2,026 African Americans waiting for transplants in Gift of Life’s region, 94% are waiting for kidney transplants.
  • African Americans are at higher risk of conditions that lead to kidney disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, the leading causes of kidney failure.
  • In the 25-44 year-old age group, the rate of African Americans who have kidney failure caused by high blood pressure is 20 times higher than Caucasians.
  • African Americans are three to four times more likely to progress to end stage renal disease for chronic kidney disease than Caucasians.

Markita’s Story

Markita Lewis lost her son Marquis in 2014. She honored her son’s giving spirit by saying “yes” to organ donation. M

arquis went on to save the lives of three other young men.

Learn more about Markita’s story.

Organ Donation among Hispanics
  • There are more than 22,900 Hispanics on the organ transplant waiting list nationwide, representing 20% of patients on the national waitlist.  Most are waiting for kidneys.
  • 8% of people waiting for organ transplants in Gift of Life’s region are Hispanic, and like other communities of color, they are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end stage renal disease and diabetes.

Marleny’s Story

Marleny Jimenez is celebrating receiving the greatest gift of all – the gift of life all thanks to the selflessness of her fiancé, Fernando Malpica, who generously donated a kidney to her in October, 2015.

Learn more about Marleny.

Organ Donation among Asians
  • There are more than 9,000 Asian candidates on the national transplant waiting list – 8,500 are waiting for a kidney.
  • In 2018, 2,076 Asian transplant candidates received a life-saving transplant.

Gift of Life Donor Program – General Organ/Tissue Donation
  • Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally-designated organ procurement organization, serving 11.2 million people across the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
  • More than 113,000 men, women and children are currently waiting for a life-saving transplant; 20 die each day waiting.
  • More than 5,000 people are waiting in the Gift of Life region.
  • One organ donor can save the lives of up to 8 people and one tissue donor can improve the health of more than 75 others.
  • Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 47,000 life-saving organs for transplant, and approximately one million life-enhancing tissue transplants.
  • Register to become an organ donor.