Why it’s important for people of color to be organ donors

More than 2,500 people in Michigan are currently waiting on a transplant

More minority organ donors needed

DETROIT – Amid the pandemic, we’ve seen sign-ups for organ donations plummet. It’s happening across the board, but more so in communities of color and while organs are not matched based on race or ethnicity, it’s still important for minorities to donate.

“I’ve had two double lung transplants” said Michael Love.

Michael Love said that’s because for years he used to smoke. He said a year after he stopped, he started having trouble breathing. That’s when he went to the doctor and got the news, “Mr. Love, you have, some scaring of tissue in the lungs.”

Love said the doctor told him that the only way to fix it was he had to get a double lung transplant. He was placed on the transplant list in August 2015. In November 2015, he had his first transplant, but a year later he got pneumonia. His lungs went through Chronic Rejection and he needed a new pair. In September 2018, he received a new pair.

READ: Keeping hope alive for patients waiting for organ transplants

“We need to donate. It’s a lot of us waiting on transplants," Love said. "We’re losing love ones because of it.”

Gift of Life Michigan said there are 2,630 people right now waiting for a transplant in Michigan. Out of those, 866 are African Americans and of that number, 797 are waiting for a kidney. That’s why they need more people to sign up to be an organ donor.

RELATED: A life-saving gift: Detroit woman to donate kidney to husband with COVID-19

Love said a lot of African Americans don’t sign up because they believe they won’t get the medical attention needed in an emergency because their name is on the list. He said no one knows your name is on the list until you pass away.

RELATED: Register: Michigan organ donors needed

Click here to learn more about organ donation and join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.


About the Author:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.