Celebrating Stories of Hope During Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is a national celebration that recognizes the contributions of all Hispanic and Latinx Americans throughout history and today. This is celebrated from September 15 – October 15 annually with different events at all types of institutions, organizations and businesses. You can find a list of how to participate locally.
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to highlight a few local, national and international stories about donation and transplantation. Recognizing the contributions these donors made after death to save and heal lives is just as important as recognizing achievements throughout history.
The need for lifesaving organ transplants affects all communities regardless of race, ethnicity, age or sex. However, when it comes to race and transplants, there is an even greater need for organ transplants among diverse communities and a need in our region and nationally for more people of color to sign up as organ, eye and tissue donors.
Meet Diana, a Donor from Denver, CO
Diana was a quiet teenager who cared about others. She loved cats and playing with Legos with her little brother, and when she grew up she hoped to have her own show on the Food Network. Diana was also known for her brutal honesty and sassy personality. Sadly, Diana tragically passed away in a car accident at the age of 16. As the family’s primary communicator, her sister, Gaby, helped her Spanish-speaking parents understand the importance of donation. At only 21 years of age she navigated her close-knit family through the organ donation process. When their family chose to honor their daughter’s caring nature by donating her organs, her kidneys saved the lives of a man and woman and her liver was delivered to Missouri to save the life of a baby girl. Diana’s family has remained in contact with the family of the baby, and according to Gaby, the little girl is doing quite well.
Meet Joe, a Donor from Uvalde, TX (story used with permission from San Antonio Eye Bank)
After an unthinkable tragedy, a decision to help others was honored. Joe’s wife Irma, was one of the teachers that died at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. Joe tragically died a few days later and as a registered donor, he was able to give the gift of sight to two individuals. Read more about Joe’s love for his family, his community and his donation legacy here.
Meet José, a Donor who immigrated from Mexico (story used with permission from South Texas Blood and Tissue)
Jose was known for his generosity. He was always willing to help anyone in need. In 2017, two months after a heart attack, Jose passed away and his family made the decision to donate his tissue. “We later found out that some of his tissue went into dental grafts, which was kind of beautiful because he was a dentist in Mexico.” Jose was proud of his Mexican heritage and his legacy lives on through the lives of his family, including three grandsons, his wife of 40 years, and countless other children and grandchildren he treated as his own. “It’s so important for there to be more representation in donors – minority donors – and it’s really cool to think that my dad was part of that.” – donor’s son, Emmanuel.
As always, thank you for your support of organ, eye and tissue donation. If you already signed up to be a donor, please take some time to discuss your decision with your loved ones. If you haven’t signed up yet, we encourage you to do so in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. One heroic decision can save and heal lives!