Survey finds family conversation key to organ donation

WASHINGTON, November 3, 2005 With the black community facing an ever-growing need for organ donation, the findings of a national survey released today show that a family discussion about organ donation one of the most important steps in the process of becoming an organ donor is often overlooked, with more than 8 out of 10 African Americans unaware of the importance of speaking to their loved ones about their wish to become a donor.

The significance of this is clear 92 percent of those surveyed said they would be likely to donate a family member's organs if that person had expressed the desire to be a donor, while only 43 percent said they would be likely to donate a relative's organs if the person hadn't mentioned it. That's why The Links, Incorporated and Roche will distribute thousands of conversation starter guides at organ donor awareness church events nationwide on National Donor Sabbath, November 13. The group also will launch a nationwide public service announcement campaign highlighting this crucial step to becoming a donor.

"The need in the African American community is especially great since 27 percent of the people on the organ transplant waiting list are black more than double their representation in the general population," said Dr. Devon John, assistant professor in transplant surgery, New York University Medical Center. "Marking your driver's license is not enough in most states family members are routinely consulted about donating a loved one's organs after that person dies."

Linkages to Life in Fourth Year

The Linkages to LifeTM Organ, Tissue and Bone Marrow Donation Awareness Program, now in its fourth year, is conducted by The Links, Inc., the largest African American women's service organization, and Roche, a pharmaceutical company.

The Linkages to Life program, in churches nationwide this year on Sunday, Nov. 13 the National Donor Sabbath declared by the U.S. Department of Health

Contact: Carlisle Campbell

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