The Illinois secretary of state is urging minorities to sign up to be organ donors. In some cases, organ transplants work better within the same ethnic group, yet African Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans aren’t donors as much as Caucasians are, says Secretary of State Jesse White.
“In 2012, people of color accounted for more than 56 percent of the national organ transplant waiting list. However, they made up only 34 percent of the actual organ donors,” he said.
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White says in some minority communities, people fear that if they’re organ donors, doctors won’t try hard to save their lives, or that their organs will be sold, or that they’ll look bad at their funeral. White says these are myths.
Kevin Cmunt, head of the Gift of Hope organ and tissue donor network, says authorization rates among African-Americans and Latinos now equals the rate for Caucasians for the first time in history.
Illinois has 5.3 million organ donors registered with the secretary of state’s office, and 5,000 people waiting for transplants. White says 300 people die each year awaiting transplants.