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Fil-Ams urged to register as organ donors

/ 01:54 AM May 15, 2014

Ayanna Anderson of CTDN talks about organ and tissue donation. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

• 1,500 people of Filipino descent await lifesaving transplants in the U.S., mostly for kidneys

•  “Pope cards” affirm Catholic Church support for organ donation

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SAN FRANCISCO, California — Speakers from the California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN) informed an audience at Philippine Consulate General about the need to encourage organ and tissue donation and transplantation registration in the Filipino community.

April as National Donate Life Month was the focus of the third installment of the Consulate’s monthly series Talakayan sa Konsulado on Friday, April 25.

Ayanna Anderson, West Bay community development liaison for CTDN, noted that there are currently nearly 1,500 residents of Filipino descent awaiting lifesaving transplants throughout the U.S. Most of them are waiting for kidneys.

“There are several misconceptions about donation that can serve as emotional barriers to signing up as potential organ and tissue donors,” stated Anderson.

“One is that people may feel that they are too old or unhealthy,” she explained.  “Second is that people may have concerns that donation is not supported by their religion. Third is the fear that once a person has the donor dot on their driver license or state identification, healthcare professionals may not come to their aid if they are in need of medical attention.”

Anderson addressed these myths: “Anyone who has the intention of saving lives who wants to sign up as a donor should do so; we never want anyone to rule themselves out due to concerns about age or health. Let the medical professionals decide if you are medically eligible to give the gift of life as a donor.”

Showcasing “Pope cards” that feature a statement of support for organ donation penned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Anderson affirmed that the Catholic Church supports organ and tissue donation.

As to the concern about whether being registered as a donor hinders the delivery of healthcare services, Anderson said, “Being a registered organ donor in no way precludes anyone from receiving lifesaving medical care.”

Several Puso ng Pinoy advocates were on hand to share their connection to organ and tissue donation. Gilda Gopal and Vicente Agor both suffered from diabetes that eventually led to kidney failure. Like thousands of others, Gopal and Agor waited years before they received their lifesaving transplants.

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Thanks to their new lease on life, Gilda and Vicente enjoy all that life has to offer. They travel, maintain very fulfilling careers and advocate for the gift of life as Donate Life Ambassadors with CTDN.

Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon ended the forum by stating that each and every individual has the ability to save many lives.  He encouraged the audience to register as organ and tissue donors, stressing that “this is the best gift that one can give.”

Signing up as a registered organ and tissue donor is one click away when you visit: www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org.  Be sure to also say “YES” to donation then next time you are completing your driver’s license or state identification application at the DMV. Share your donation decision with your family and loved ones.

If you are interested in becoming part of CTDN’s Puso ng Pinoy movement, please visit: ctdn.org/pusongpinoy.html.

Talakayan sa Konsulado is a monthly forum organized by the Philippine Consulate General in partnership with the Philippine American Press Club.  Each month, a topic relevant to the Filipino American community is discussed with experts on the subject. To learn about future topics of the Talakayan, visit www.facebook.com/PCGSF.

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TAGS: California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN), organ donation and transplantation, organ transplants, Talakayan sa Konsulado
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