National Minority Donor Awareness Week Aug 1-7

Promote Awareness & Prevent Disease—7 Days, 7 Actions, Save 7 Lives

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Darryl Cheatham's kidneys stopped working at age 24. After a year and a half of waiting for a transplant and undergoing three hours of dialysis three days per week, he received a transplant. That was in 1989. "It is an awesome blessing," said Cheatham, who is now married with two young boys in Richmond, Va. "Having a transplant is having a second chance at life. I encourage people to donate."

Like more than a third of the 118,869 people waiting for a transplant, Cheatham is African American. Minorities disproportionately need organ transplants, however more minority organ and tissue donation is needed, said Clive O. Callender, M.D., who founded National Minority Donor Awareness Day, which—because of the pressing need for minority organ donors—is now observed for a week, Aug. 1-7.

"Minorities are 25 percent of the population, but almost 60 percent of those waiting for a transplant are minorities," said Dr. Callender, who also founded National MOTTEP, the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program. "We need to be particularly enthusiastic about doing something about this."

The goal of the week is to not only to raise awareness of the need for more organ and tissue donors, but also prevent the need for transplants by promoting healthy lifestyles. During National Minority Donor Awareness Week, Dr. Callender urges people to do 7 things to promote awareness and to prevent disease:

  1. Donate. Register to be an organ and tissue donor and donate blood. National Minority Donor Awareness Week is a great time to officially sign up to be an organ/tissue donor and to give blood. There are donation registries in every state and most major cities.
  2. Share. Let your next of kin know that you'd like to Save 7 Lives and improve the quality of life of at least 30 others by donating your organs and tissues.
  3. Monitor. Get your blood pressure checked this week. "Minorities are at higher risk for developing high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which increase the chance of organ failure," Dr. Callender said. If your blood pressure is above 120/80 (120 over 80) talk to your doctor about ways to control it.   
  4. Exercise. Walk, bike, dance, swim, hike or join a gym and exercise at least 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Start the ball rolling by adopting an active lifestyle to reduce the risk of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, all of which increase the risk of needing an organ transplant.
  5. Eat right. More green vegetables and less red meat are keys to a healthier diet. Try a variety of veggies and cut out the sugary drinks. Your body and your organs will thank you.
  6. Give up. That's right, give up smoking. Take a step toward quitting. Check out where you can get tips and sign up for text message support.  
  7. Promote awareness. Tell 7 friends!

Cheatham, whose transplanted kidney worked well until November of 2012, is now back on dialysis after almost a quarter of a century of good health. "So many people are in need," Cheatham said, who is a registered organ donor. "Transplants give people a chance to experience a full life."

Available for interviews on this and other subjects related to organ and tissue donation, transplantation and prevention is Dr. Callender, a world-renowned expert in minority transplant surgery and organ and tissue donation, who founded National MOTTEP 21 years ago. Darryl Cheatham is also available for interviews.

National MOTTEP is the first national organization to identify the two-fold solution to the donor shortage by decreasing the number of those in need of a transplant, while simultaneously boosting the number of minority organ donors. Dr. Callender has served on the staff of Howard University Hospital since 1973, where he helped develop the first minority-directed dialysis and transplant center and histocompatibility and Immunogenetic lab in the country.

Media Contact: Suzanne Marshall, National MOTTEP, 202-865-4888,

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