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Importance of Organ and Tissue Donation in Diverse Communities

The need for diverse donors is real – and so is our commitment to the cause.

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Versiti advocates for diversity in blood, organ and tissue, and bone marrow and stem cell donations.
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With nearly 60% of the national organ and tissue transplant waiting list reflecting communities of color, we are deeply committed to building awareness around the need for diverse donors.

The need is real.

Currently, approximately 110,000 individuals are waiting for a lifesaving organ or life-enhancing tissue transplant. The need continues to grow, but the availability of viable, lifesaving organs from diverse donors fails to match the increasing demand. Nationally, African Americans are the largest group of ethnically diverse patients in need of organ transplants. And in 2018, 16.4% of all transplant recipients were of Hispanic origin.

Versiti Organ and Tissue currently serves a 12-county region in Wisconsin. In Milwaukee, the state’s largest county of diverse residents, only 25% of Hispanics and African Americans are registered organ, tissue and eye donors. Increasing the number of diverse donors is crucial, as successful transplantation is often enhanced by matching organs and tissues between donors and patients of the same or similar ethnic groups.

Expertise and Commitment

National Impact

  • The rate of African Americans who have kidney failure caused by high blood pressure is 20 times higher than Caucasians.
  • Hispanics are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end-stage renal disease and diabetes.
  • With nearly 60% of the national transplant waiting list reflecting people from communities of color, Black and Hispanic donors are more likely to be a match for recipients in need.
29%25 of people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the nation are African American. 15%25 of the organ donors were African American.

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Read These Inspiring Stories

Nykia Julian

In 2018, Nykia Julian’s heart was beginning to fail. Eventually, doctors told her she would not have much longer to live without a new heart.

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Jesse Pagel presenting a check to Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin to support Organ Donation

Jesse Pagels

Jesse was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2003. Unfortunately, the treatment damaged his lungs. In 2013, a match was found and Jesse underwent a life-saving double lung transplant.

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Judge Mosely and Judge Eiring at Cream City 5K in 2019

Judges Derek Mosley and JoAnn Eiring

In 2014, Derek was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. Already his colleague and close friend, JoAnn got tested to see if she could donate her kidney and save Derek’s life.

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