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Donate Life America Dispels Myths About Organ & Tissue Donation Among Hispanics During National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15, 2007

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While nearly 4,000 Hispanics received the gift of life through organ and tissue donation in 2006, strongly held myths regarding donation continue to be the major barrier preventing many Hispanics from becoming organ and tissue donors. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Donate Life America will address these myths and encourage the Hispanic community, long celebrated for its zest for life, to get the facts, visit and give a gift that extends life to others.

"A vibrant community like ours, with an amazing love for life, should be one of the primary supporters of donation," says Aisha Huertas, Public Outreach & Marketing Coordinator for Donate Life America. "We need to get informed about organ and tissue donation, let go of our fears, and designate a donation decision. Each person that makes a decision could save or enhance the lives of over 50 people. That makes a huge difference."

One of the greatest misconceptions that prevent Hispanics from making the decision to donate life is the belief that doctors in an emergency room situation will not work as hard to save the life of a person who has indicated a wish to be a donor.

"Doctors take an oath to save lives," continues Huertas. "The life of a donor is no less important than the life of a recipient."

Additional misconceptions are rooted in a mistrust of the organ donation process and allocation system. Many Hispanics feel that the rich get preferential treatment. They do not trust that their organs will be allocated to the person most in need. Donate Life America seeks to educate Hispanics on the allocation process to emphasize that one's celebrity or financial status does not play a part in the decision. Allocation is based on a variety of medical and logistical factors including blood type, size of organ needed, and waiting time.

Religion is also a barrier because many incorrectly believe that donation is against their faith. Not only do all major religions, including the Roman Catholic Church, support organ and tissue donation, but Pope Benedict XVI has stated that to give one's organs means to give expression to a true, deep act of love for one's neighbor.

Other myths include the perception that there is a cost to donation or that donation interferes with normal funeral arrangements. Donation is free to the donor and the donor's estate and will not interfere with funeral arrangements. Donors can have a regular, open-casket funeral.

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, Donate Life America is committed to presenting the life-saving facts surrounding these common myths by offering information about organ and tissue donation and outreach to the Hispanic community via radio, television and print.

To separate fact from fiction and find out how to commit to donation, please visit the Spanish language website at or call 1-800-485-VIDA.

Founded in 1992, Donate Life America's mission is to serve as a national voice and inspire all people to save and enhance lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.

SOURCE Donate Life America
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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