ConnectLife is committed to increasing awareness regarding organ, eye, tissue, and community blood donation. We strive to provide services and educational programming for all those interested in Western New York. Effective outreach and recruitment is key to our effort to save and enhance lives through donation.
We offer several different types of programs:
Invite a ConnectLife representative to share the Donate Life message at your next event. Display includes educational material, giveaways, brochures, models, tissue samples, and/or interactive activities for target age groups. Trained staff or volunteers will answer questions about donation and transplantation, gently correct common misconceptions, and provide the opportunity for participants to join the New York State donor registry.
The Donate Life: Talk It Up! program provides information about organ and tissue donation to middle and high school students through an informational presentation. The goals of Donate Life: Talk It Up! are to provide students with information about the lifesaving benefits of donation; to motivate students to initiate a family discussion about organ and tissue donation; and to answer questions and counter common misconceptions about donation. Presentations are conducted by trained staff and volunteers, all of whom have a personal connection to donation and transplantation.
Students learn about wellness and what it means to give the “Gift of Life,” through age-appropriate, interactive activities.
Provide an opportunity for individuals to give the gift of life at your organization or one of our community donation centers. ConnectLife will provide you with everything you need to plan and run a successful drive. All blood collected will go to help friends and neighbors here in Western New York as we are the only community blood center in the area. Remember that one person's blood donation can save the lives of up to three community members. Pre-drive education can be scheduled to enhance the donor experience.
This faith-based program is an effort to help reduce health disparities among multicultural communities throughout Western New York. The need for minority organ and blood donors is high. Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background. Compatible blood types are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. A greater diversity of donors may potentially increase access to transplantation for everyone.
Help spread the word about organ, eye, tissue, and community blood donation and provide the opportunity to individuals to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors. ConnectLife will assist your organization in the development of ideas and provide materials for you to implement the drive.
If you are interested in having ConnectLife at your event or having an educational presentation, please contact our Community Engagement Coordinator at 716-529-4354 or submit the form below.
Health Disparities in Organ and Blood Donations
People of all ages, races, and ethnicities can save and enhance lives by donating their organs, eyes, and tissues. Organ and tissue transplants are needed by people from every area of our nation.
Members of racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans, are disproportionately afflicted with chronic conditions that affect the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas, and liver. For example, these minority groups are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end-stage renal (kidney) disease, often as the result of high blood pressure and other conditions that can damage the kidneys.
In most cases, the best treatment is transplantation because it improves patients' quality of life and survival rates. However, the number of organs and tissues donated by members of these groups and other underserved populations is low; therefore, the likelihood of a good match between donor and recipient and, ultimately, survival of the transplanted organ is reduced. Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background.
In addition, blood type compatibility contributes to the patient’s outcome. This is because compatible blood types are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. A greater diversity of donors may potentially increase access to transplantation for everyone.
Because matching blood type is necessary for all transplants, the need for minority donor organs and blood is especially high. Nearly 70% of the organs transplanted into African Americans come from Caucasian donors. Research shows that organs transplanted from someone from the same ethnic background have a lesser chance of organ rejection.
- Resulting disparities can be attributed to misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation and transplantation. Persistent mistrust of doctors and hospitals and religious misconceptions may explain why more people, especially minorities, do not become blood and organ donors.
- Shortages of donated blood products and organs pose a great public health challenge, particularly for minorities. Low blood donation rates by African-Americans have resulted in shortages of blood supply for illnesses such as sickle cell disease.
- There are more than 24,000 Hispanics on the organ transplant waiting list. While Hispanics make up 16% of the total U.S. population, over 18% of those awaiting an organ are Hispanic.
- Additionally, lack of private health insurance appears to be a major contributor to health disparities in organ donation and success of transplantation. Those without insurance avoid frequent interactions with the healthcare system and are often reluctant to become donors. Recent studies show that at least 43% of African Americans on dialysis did not know about their kidney failure until one week before dialysis.
ConnectLife’s Multicultural-Faith based program is in an effort to help reduce health disparities among multicultural communities throughout Western New York.
If you are interested in learning more about our program offerings, please contact Esmeralda Sierra, Community Engagement Coordinator at 716-529-4354 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.