Generations of hope sheds light on organ donation

Published 11:06 am Monday, September 26, 2016

With high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, African-Americans have an increased risk of organ failure, making them the largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant.

The Clark County Circuit Clerk’s Trust For Life, the Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee and First Baptist Church sponsored Generations of Hope Saturday evening to spread awareness of organ donation among Winchester’s minority communities.

Along with entertainment from the First Baptist Church choir and youth dancers, the evening offered participants an opportunity to ask questions about organ donation and end-of-life decisions.

Pastors, attorneys, funeral directors and medical professionals were present to answer questions and debunk myths about organ donation.

Rebekah Grimm shared the story of her grandmother, a proud organ donor.

Debra Hampton, a kidney transplant recipient, shared information about kidney disease signs and symptoms. Hampton received her kidney transplant 10 years ago, and encouraged others to register as organ donors.

Ellis Garrard said he has had diabetes since he was 16 years old. In recent years he has battled kidney disease and has been on dialysis for four month. Today, he awaits a life-saving kidney transplant. He asked participants to consider registering as donor not for himself, but for others who are in need.

The audience was told they are 12 times more likely to need an organ transplant than to be a donor.

Participants were able to sign-up for one-on-one sessions with professionals or ask questions before the audience.

Clark County Circuit Court Clerk Paula Joslin asked professional speakers to address some frequently asked questions about organ donation.

Kara Martin, a nurse at Clark Regional Medical Center, said medical staff has no knowledge of whether patients are registered organ donors, meaning they will never sacrifice care in order to get organs for someone else.

“We have no idea until after the fact,” she said. “With every single patient it is our responsibility and our desire to do whatever we can to care for them and save their life.”

Religious representatives said that all denominations of Christianity support and encourage organ donation, and Beverly Chenault Emmanuel of Chenault Brothers Funeral Home said organ donation does no prohibit open-casket funerals.

For more information about organ and tissue donation or to register as a donor, visit donatelifeky.org.

Contact Whitney Leggett at whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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