With more than 117,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, there’s no doubt that the demand for organ and tissue donation still far outweighs the number of available donors. In ethnically diverse communities, this need is even more pronounced; in fact, recent statistics show that nearly 58% of patients on the U.S. transplant waiting list are minorities.
With ethnically diverse individuals playing such a vital role in organ donation and transplantation, the need for raising awareness about organ donation in multicultural communities is urgent. It is for this very reason that in 2015, Donate Life America (DLA) and the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation (AMAT) combined forces to create Donate Life ECHO, a two-week national outreach campaign designed to emphasize the importance of organ donation and transplantation in multicultural communities.
Donate Life ECHO: Spreading a Life-Saving Message
The acronym “ECHO” stands for Every Community Has Opportunity, signaling that individuals from all ethnic backgrounds have the opportunity to save and/or positively impact the lives of patients who are in need of organ, eye or tissue transplants. As a two-week national observance, Donate Life ECHO is designed to empower individuals in multicultural communities to spread the message of donation, share their own personal stories and boost the number of ethnically diverse donor registrations.
By increasing outreach and educational efforts through innovative campaigns such as Donate Life ECHO, participants can spark dialogue, encourage action and spread the life-giving message of organ and tissue donation to communities that are in desperate need of more donors.
How You Can Get Involved
So how can you increase awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation in your community? Here are some helpful first steps:
* One of the best ways to set a positive example in your community is to register to be an organ and tissue donor yourself. Make sure that you have signed up to be an organ donor by visiting the National Donate Life Registry website at RegisterMe.org and filling out the brief online registration form. If you have already registered through your state upon receiving a driver’s license, that is also a valid way to legally document your decision.
* Spread the word! Tell your family and friends about your decision to become an organ and tissue donor, and help spread awareness of how urgent the need really is for organ, eye and tissue donation in multicultural communities. Share some of the key statistics from the Donate Life website, or ask them to visit the site to learn more, and to register as a donor.
* Use the free tools available at the Donate Life ECHO website, which include downloadable flyers, take-away cards, social media graphics, and web banners, as well as several effective implementation ideas.
* Be sure to participate in this year’s Donate Life ECHO observance, which will take place on July 9-22, 2017. Also consider entering the Donate Life ECHO video contest, in which you can use your creativity to share your personal donation or transplantation story, and help spread the ECHO message. The theme for this year’s video contest is #HearMyStoryOf, which is a fitting idea for this important cause, as storytelling is one of the most effective ways to help the message of organ donation resonate within your community.
With such an urgent need for organ, eye and tissue donation within ethnically diverse communities, we need “all hands on deck” to help spread awareness about this vital issue. Use the tips and ideas highlighted above to amplify this life-saving message, and share the importance of organ donation in a way that will make a powerful impact.