Donate organs, tissue, blood during Black History Month

Following are some organ, tissue and blood donation statistics provided by the Rock River Valley Blood Center in recognition of February as Black History Month.

Did you know…

One complication of diabetes is kidney disease. Approximately 2.3 million African-Americans have diabetes…one-third of whom do not even know it! One in four African-American women older than age 55 have diabetes. Diabetes and kidney disease often lead to kidney failure and the organ transplant waiting list.

Just last year, soul singer Barry White died of kidney failure. He needed a kidney transplant to live, but a donor could not be found. Minorities form more than half the kidney transplant waiting list; blacks alone make up nearly 35 percent of those in need.

Superstar Stevie Wonder urges more blacks to become organ donors by pointing out that a transplant might have saved White’s life or someone you know.

Did you know…

Rockford’s very own Charter member of our local AATF Chapter traveled to Biloxi, Miss., in November 2004 to attend a national conference. One speaker was none other than Dr.Velma P.Scantlebury, the first black female organ transplantation surgeon in the world, having performed more than 700 kidney transplants. Dr. Scantlebury is listed as one of the best doctors in America.

Did you know…

Every three seconds someone needs a life-saving blood transfusion. Rare blood traits are more prevalent among African-Americans, accounting for more than one-third of all requests for rare blood types. If one’s type were not available life-saving treatment could be delayed or worse.

Did you know…

On average, with each life-saving organ transplant, 105 units of blood and blood products are needed!

Did you know…

Ten percent of children with sickle-cell anemia will suffer a stroke by the age of 10! sickle-cell anemia affects one in every 500 African-American newborns. Symptoms usually do not occur until after 4 months of age. Research shows intermittent blood transfusions can significantly reduce the risk of stoke in children with sickle-cell. Marrow cell transplants are currently the only potential cure for sickle-cell anemia.

Be a donor—It’s About LIFE!

For more information on blood donation, contact the RRVBC at 419 N. Sixth St., Rockford; 965-8751; or visit

For more information on organ donation, contact Life Goes On Organ and Tissue Donor Program at 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Ill., 62723, or call 800-210-2106.

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