One voice, one vision07/27/2023
CELEBRATING MULTIETHNIC DONOR AWARENESS MONTH
Join us this August as we celebrate National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month (NMDAM). Donate Life Arizona joins the observance in efforts to continue saving and improving the quality of life of all communities by creating a positive culture for organ and tissue donation.
NMDAM started out as National Minority Donor Awareness Week, which was founded in 1996 by the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP). It was originally created to bring awareness to donation and transplantation in multicultural communities with a primary focus on African American, Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Native American communities.
During NMDAM, organ donation organizations can shed a light on the need for more organ and tissue donors within multicultural communities, provide donation education, offer opportunities for registration, and highlight stories of donation and transplantation. NMDAM is a vital effort to drive the positive messages that are needed for multiethnic communities to make the decision for organ and tissue donation.
STARTING THE CONVERSATION
Remember Nancy? She was featured in January in the 2023 Donate Life Arizona calendar as a kidney waiting list patient. A little more than seven years after going into kidney failure, Nancy Castillo got a call from her transplant team that they had found a match in early April 2023.
Well before knowing she would get this transplant, she made it her mission to share her story with anyone who lent an ear. She opened up about her health battles with multiple news outlets—including ABC 15
and Prensa Arizona. She also walked the route of the Fiesta Bowl Parade in Central Phoenix, no small feat for someone in kidney failure. To her, it was worth the struggle to ask more people to register, encourage others to consider living kidney and liver donation, and to inspire meaningful conversations.
“I think our Hispanic culture has a lot to learn about organ donation, and I’m doing my part to get rid of the misconceptions,” she says. “I see life from a different perspective now and have become more grateful for the little moments in life.”
DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION IN MULTIETHNIC COMMUNITIES
Organ and tissue donation and transplantation in multicultural communities happens all year long and can be cross cultural.
Transplants can be successful regardless of the ethnicity of the donor and recipient. However, the chance of longer-term survival may be greater if the donor and recipient are closely matched in terms of their shared genetic background for most organs.
In 2022, 348 Arizona donors gave the gift of life. Of those Arizona donors, 148 came from people in multiethnic backgrounds.
IT'S ABOUT HELPING OTHERS
For 35 years, Danny Eschief worked as a tribal recreation coordinator with the Gila River Indian Community–specifically the Akimel O’Otham group. His daughter, Debbie Eschief, says people were easily drawn to him, and that’s how he was so successful in bringing the community together through sports.
“We never really talked about organ donation in our Native culture and our traditions,” Debbie says about when she learned her father registered himself. “He just said, ‘If somebody can use it, I rather somebody benefit.’”
Danny’s decision to give others a second chance helped more than 20 people, combining donated skin tissue, bone tissue, corneas and organs. “I think he would be happy that he was able to help other people,” says Debbie.
YOU CAN SAVE AND HEAL
Together, we can save and improve the quality of life in diverse communities by creating a positive culture for organ and tissue donation. Let’s create a more inclusive transplant community that celebrates the diversity of our nation and ensures equal access to lifesaving treatments for all.
How? One way is to join the DonateLifeAZ Registry when you apply for or renew a driver’s license or state ID at an ADOT MVD office. You can also register online today at DonateLifeAZ.org.