NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ —  NJ Sharing Network, the nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue in the state, has kicked off 2020 #DonationNeedsDiversity, an initiative to empower multicultural communities to become more involved in saving and healing lives through organ and tissue donation.

Celebrated in August, National Minority Donor Awareness Month honors the generosity of multicultural donors and their families, while also underscoring the critical need for people from diverse communities to register as organ and tissue donors.

The national initiative usually features an entire month of local, regional and national in-person events and activities. This year’s #DonationNeedsDiversity efforts will be powered by virtual events and activities through robust social media, website and targeted e-mails.

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NJ Sharing Network will be providing tools that supporters can use, such as Facebook photo frames, and encourage community interaction by sharing stories of how organ and tissue donation has improved lives. Additional online posts will encourage supporters to share recipes, favorite songs and photo memories that help celebrate life. To see the daily calendar of activities, please visit the online calendar at www.njsharingnetwork.org/donation-needs-diversity.

Joe Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network, stresses the importance of National Minority Donor Awareness Month and the #DonationNeedsDiversity campaign. Some staggering statistics include:

  • 66 percent of those currently waiting for a life-saving transplant in New Jersey are people of color.
  • Almost 35 percent of the nearly 115,000 people on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant are African-American.
  • African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latinos are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end-stage renal (kidney) disease.

“Each year in New Jersey, thousands of lives are saved and enhanced through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Clearly, this is something to celebrate. However, there is an urgent need to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation to help save more lives in our diverse communities of New Jersey,” said Roth. “Although organs are not matched according to race and ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from multicultural communities.”

E. Denise Peoples, hospital and community services coordinator of the NJ Sharing Network, is a double-lung transplant recipient and a Newark resident who works throughout the year to promote NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission in local schools, faith-based organizations and community associations. “We have all experienced how health issues such as hypertension, diabetes and kidney failure have impacted those around us — our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors. That’s why there is a greater need than ever for transplants among our racial and ethnic minorities. We need the active support of our community members to help educate others and dispel any myths and misinformation about organ and tissue donation,” said Peoples.

#DonationNeedsDiversity and other year-round outreach initiatives play an essential role in providing hope for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant. Jayla Sorenson, a vivacious 8-year-old from Toms River, is one of the many young children on the waiting list. Jayla loves to dance, play outside, and hug and kiss her family members. However, Jayla has a kidney disease that limits their ability to filter and clean her blood, and the clock is ticking towards a more critical stage in Jayla’s condition that will eventually involve a pediatric kidney transplant. Jayla and her family actively participate in events and programs to promote organ and tissue donation throughout the year.

For more information about ways to support the #DonationNeedsDiversity campaign, please visit NJSharingNetwork.org/donation-needs-diversity or contact E. Denise Peoples at 973-655-4687 or email dpeoples@njsharingnetwork.org.

About NJ Sharing Network

Dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation, NJ Sharing Network is the nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents waiting for a life-saving transplant. With headquarters in New Providence, the organization, selected by NJBiz as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for the third consecutive year, is also part of the national recovery system, serving the nearly 115,000 people on the national waiting list. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit NJSharingNetwork.org.