With more than 5,000 Georgians on the list for a life-saving medical procedure, a local barber shop cooperates with a nationwide organization to raise awareness of a common but avoidable problem.
For more than 30 years, the LifeLink Foundation has facilitated organ and tissue donations to needy patients in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Through his status as the official organ procurement organization in Georgia, LifeLink has saved thousands of lives by working with hospitals to identify potential donors and educate people about the benefits of the donation. With more than 1
"Next weekend I will set up a table with literature and information in front of the barber shop," said LifeLink Education Specialist Asha Ellen of Frederman's Barbershop from Milledgeville Thursday. "We can talk to people when they come over and come to the store to see if they are registered as organ donors and if they not only have a dialogue, what prevents them from registering and giving them some information, hopefully help educate them about the process, and I will actually be able to register people on the spot if they are not currently registered on their driver's license. "
16-18. On Friday and from 10:00 to 12:00, Ellen will speak with people in front of Freeman about the statistics of organ donation. Although spring weather is likely to attract the entire downtown area this week, the tent position ahead of Freeman's Ellen will provide an opportunity to reach much-needed donors in the African American community.
"Clinical Success The rate of transplantation appears to be greater when donor and recipient have the same ethnic background, and this appears to be in both kidney and liver," she said. "Everywhere in the United States, about 80 percent of those waiting for a life-saving organ are waiting for a kidney, and much of it is attributed to hypertension and diabetes, the sad thing is that these things, especially type 2 diabetes and high Cholesterol levels are all factors that we can manage and control. "
Because of the damage that can cause diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes to the kidneys The small blood-filtering organs are almost constantly scarce. Partly due to higher rates of these diseases in African Americans, black Georgians make up 63 percent of the more than 5,000 people on the transplant list and 67 percent of those who wait for kidneys altogether. Given the increased need for donors in the African American community, Barbershop employees said they are more than happy to help Ellen and LifeLink in their efforts.
"One of the things we need to do is explain to African Americans how important it is to be an organ donor," said Freeman's manager and hairdresser Don Reese. "I've been an organ donor for about 20 years, but bringing this [campaign] to African Americans is important because no one ever told us how much we need organ donors … We always take it as a negative and want to take organs, but somebody could use it and [when you’re gone] you can not do that, they might even be able to save a child's child. "
Although kidneys are undoubtedly the most sought-after organs on the transplant list, they are by no means the most only organs that can save the lives of people. While physicians can safely transplant up to eight vital organs and a variety of different tissues, only 2 percent of vital organ donors are suitable for transplantation, and the most effective way to prevent organ failure is to consider risk factors from the beginning
" In addition to education about organ donation and transplantation, LifeLink focuses heavily on preventive care and lifestyle choices, "said Ellen. "People need to register to be organ donors – if all of us were registered as donors, there would be no waiting list, and the other way to keep the waiting list is to go beyond the list and fix these problems and programs Certain changes can make a big difference in whether you suffer from organ failure. "
For more information or to register as an organ donor, visit LifeLink's website at www.lifelinkfoundation.org .