Only 30% of organ donors represent people from diverse and under-represented communities

August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month and we are featuring David Rodriguez,  ALF advocacy ambassador and living donor liver transplant recipient.

David said, “I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) at 49 years old. I had zero symptoms until the day I ended up in the hospital with a high fever and chills. After intense evaluation, doctors told me I had biliary cirrhosis of the liver and gave me one year to live; my only hope for survival was to have a liver transplant.”

There are more than 100,000 Americans waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.            

David said, “As a single person, the news had a tremendous effect on my life – I was stressed, depressed, anxious and I felt broken and alone. As time went on and I did not receive a call, I became less and less hopeful. Then, almost a year later, I was chosen to be a part of the Liver Paired Exchange Program – a new UNOS pilot program for liver transplantation that has been utilized in kidney transplantation for years.”

Organ transplant recipients whose donor has similar human leukocyte antigen (HLA) markers may have less complications post-transplant therefore, creating a diverse list of donors is critical for patients. Currently, only 30% of organ donors represent people from diverse and under-represented communities.

Living donor liver transplants offer a solution for patients who cannot wait for a deceased donor liver or who do not qualify for one. ALF’s Living Donor Liver Transplant information center provides free resources for those looking to find a living donor, resources for those considering becoming a living donor and a comprehensive educational and social media toolkit  designed to help patients and families learn how to tell their stories and spread the word.

David said, “I received my liver transplant on January 6, 2022, and have been doing well ever since. I hope to use my second chance at life to help ALF spread the word about liver health, preventing liver disease and the importance of organ donation in the Hispanic community.”

National Minority Donor Awareness Month seeks to bring heightened awareness to organ donation and transplantation in multicultural communities – specifically African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American communities. To learn more about living donor liver transplantation and the resources ALF has to offer, please visit our website.

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