I had no idea that August 1 through August 7 is National Minority Donor Awareness Week until a friend of mine posted the above video which featured a friend of hers. We have done many stories at 8asians on the need for bone marrow donors, but the generic need for all kinds of donors is bigger than that. Judith’s story describes a need with many Asian Americans, especially given that many Asian Americans groups suffer disproportionately from diabetes and chances for a match are higher within an ethnic group. Some key facts about American organ donation:
- 119,060 people are waiting for an organ
- 18 people will die each day waiting for an organ
- 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives
- 6.7% of recipients were Asians (2012)
- 3.1% of donors were Asians (2012)
What can be done?
Despite the sad imbalance in Asian American recipients and donors, there are Asian Americans make a difference. Catherine Tran’s story is particularly inspiring (see the video below), showing how hope and life can spring from tragedy. She mentions resistance from Asian Americans about donating (I have run into this too), and I would agree that this is something that should change. The main thing that people of all ethnicities can do is to sign up to be organ donors. In some states like California, you can do this when renewing one’s driver’s license. You can also designate this in your will or advanced directives. organdonor.gov (US Department of Health and Human Services) is a good place to start in looking for resources to do this.