Between Life and Death: Waiting for a Miracle April is the National Donate Life Month

CHICAGO, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Aranda's never thought that one day they would face one of the most difficult ordeals of their entire lives. One of their loved ones, Lisbeth, was between life and death, waiting for a miracle: find a compatible donor that could make possible a double transplant of kidney and liver. The Aranda's were running against the clock. And Lisbeth was just one more name in a long waiting list. Her destiny depended on the generosity of another family that was probably going through equally devastating circumstances. The minutes lasted forever, and what once seemed impossible, is now a reality. Visibly touched when recalling those moments of profound sorrow, Elba Arroyo– Lisbeth's sister- remembers: "We prayed and begged for the organs to show up on time, before the worst happened…Imagine a life pending on a waiting list".

As part of April's celebration as the national donate life month, Gift of Hope sent a call to the Hispanic community to join the state's donor registry and talk about this decision with the family, saving the lives of thousands of Hispanics that currently suffer from a chronic or terminal disease.

Raiza Mendoza, Public Relations and Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for Gift of Hope, explains: "Just last year, a total of 28,052 people in the US received a transplant. A number that is far below the actual need of a country where nearly 117,000 people -including children- are currently waiting for an organ to survive". More than half of them come from minorities, including the Hispanics. Minorities are disproportionately affected by illnesses, like hypertension, diabetes and obesity, which can lead to end-stage renal disease and the need for dialysis or a transplant.

"As Latinos, we need to create awareness of the importance of organ donation, as a solidary way to help the members of our own community. It's least probable for a patient to reject a kidney if it comes from an individual with similar genetic characteristics; and generally people are more genetically compatible with individuals of their own ethnicity or race", explains Mendoza.

According to the Department of Health, over 3,000 Hispanics benefited by an organ transplant during 2012. Lisbeth was one of them. An example that marked the lives of the Aranda's, making them aware of the importance of discussing about this topic in the family and registering as organ donor. Lisbeth's sister says: "I was so proud when my son got his driver's license and was asked if he wanted to be a donor. Without thinking twice he answered: 'Yes'. This kind of behavior is what we need to encourage at home. Imagine if you can help to save lives. Children lives, adult lives, lives of Latinos and from all nationalities and colors. Even more within the Hispanic community, which is a minority especially when it comes to organ donation", said Arroyo.

And adds: "The organ donation is a miracle. A miracle you can decide while you're alive. It's the greatest expression of love for humanity. Become aware that maybe tomorrow, you can be the one in need of that miracle of life".

Just in Illinois over 5,000 people wait for a transplant. One single donor could help up to 9 people avoid death, as well as to better the quality of life for up to 25 individuals through tissue donation. To subscribe as a donor or to get more information, visit www.giftofhope.org  or call 630 758-2744.

About Gift of Hope

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is the not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides donor family services. Since 1986, Gift of Hope has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of more than 18,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area.

Contacts:

Janet Domínguez

Michelle Zarzar

Hispanic Media Relations

Hispanic Media Relations

P: 312.226.7830 Ext. 235

P: 312.226.7830 Ext. 237

C: 630-779-3800

C: 954-756-3234

janet@sayhitopaco.com

michelle@sayhitopaco.com

SOURCE Gift of Hope




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