August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month – a time to call attention to the more than 5,000 Illinois residents and 118,000 people nationwide waiting for lifesaving organ transplants.

Of the 118,000 men, women and children listed on the national organ transplant waiting list, 56 percent are minorities. Minorities are disproportionately affected by illnesses, like hypertension and diabetes, which can lead to end-stage renal disease and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant, contributing to the higher number of minority patients on the national organ transplant waiting list.

This makes the need for more donors from ethnic minority groups critical. In 2012, 11,309 minority patients received organ transplants; while there were 2,762 minority deceased donors and 1,711 minority living donors. The wait is long and, sadly, 18 people die every day because the transplant they desperately needed did not come in time.

During National Minority Donor Awareness Week, Cook County Health & Hospitals System and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network have partnered to build organ and tissue donation awareness and encourage staff to register their decisions to save lives through the Hospitals for Hope campaign.

The campaign features a cross-section of our staff, who are registered organ and tissue donors.

Thanks to activities like the Hospitals for Hope campaign held at CCHHS and elsewhere throughout the year, nearly 6 million people in Illinois have made the decision to be organ and tissue donors by registering their wishes in the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry.

“Registering is an ordinary action that can produce an extraordinary outcome,” said Dr. Ram Raj, CEO of Cook County Health & Hospitals System. “So we encourage all of our staff members and volunteers here at CCHHS to take the simple, yet critical, step to help save the lives of thousands of people whose survival depend on a person’s selfless decision to be an organ and tissue donor. Encourage your family members and friends to do the same. By joining the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, you will make sure that your desire to give the gift of hope is fulfilled.”

Be part of this lifesaving effort and learn more about organ and tissue donation at

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