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Jack D. Lynch is the Director of Community Affairs for the Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network.

Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, in the early ’90’s Lynch was contacted to facilitate a discussion with the King family on protocols for organ donation. The King family wanted James Earl Ray to receive a liver transplant in exchange for more information on the conspiracy theory in the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the mid-‘90’s, Luis Farrakhan conducted a highly publicized speech in Ohio. He believed whites where not helping Black on Black annihilation because Black organs could help save the lives of whites. Lynch helped facilitate a dinner meeting with political leaders at Farrakhan’s home in Chicago. The meeting, originally scheduled for 45 minutes lasted 2 ½ hours.

This meeting changed Farrakhan’s feelings on the matter and he now acts as an advisor and supporter of organ transplant and tissue donation.Partly due to his efforts, he country’s largest organ donation drive occurred on the South Side of Chicago in 2008 at Salem Baptist Church.

Each organ donor saves up to 7 lives! Each tissue done improves 50-75 lives!

Can people with low platelet donate organs?

This has nothing to do bioavailability of organs.  Every organ is evaluated on its on merit.

Please understand that disproportions exist in healthcare, so excuse me for being leery of where my kidney goes and what group gets priority.

No groups get priority. Gift of Hope is an organ procurement organization. The United Network for Organ Sharing manages the list and there is no priority, as there is a set of criteria to determine need and matching.

How do we know that the organ is going to the right organizations?

There are 58 federally designated organ procurement organizations to manage and coordinate the process. If there are any other agencies, do your homework and do not be taken in.

How do you get on a list to see if your kidney is compatible to donate should you be a match?

Depending on what organ you are waiting on, your personal physician will refer you to a specialist and they will  manage the process for placing you on the list.

If a person has a existing chronic disease i.e. lupus, can they still donate organs and blood?

Even people with lupus can donate. Organs are donated on their own merit, as all organs may not be affected by the disease.

When my sister passed away last year most of the family members were OK with organ donation, however the funeral home convinced her daughter not to donate any organs because her body would be destroyed. How true is that?Absolutely not true and that is an area that we need to do more education in. Recovery of the organs from the body do absolutely nothing to the outward appearance of the body, and a family can still have an open casket.

How long is the recovery from kidney transplant surgery? Approximately 5 days after a kidney transplant you can be back up and walking.

Doctor, How prevalent is kidney cancer and how successful is treatment? 

Kidney cancer is quite prevalent and catastrophic, depending on the progression. If the cancer is contained and the removal of the growth or kidney happens in time, it can lower your chances of loss of life. Successful treatment really depends on if the cancer is contained or has spread.

How can a person live using dialysis?

The vast majority of people go on to lead normal lives, only they have to manage their dialysis process to ensure they are compliant and go on with their normal activities, ensuring they manage their energy level, etc.

I’m considered an obese woman because I’m over 350 pounds. I don’t drink alcohol and have never smoked. Am I allowed to donate a kidney?

Again, it will depend on a number of things, including your ability to tolerate the surgery and your level of health overall.

How are these donor transplant procedures covered financially?

The vast majority are covered by private insurance, and there is a federal initiative for indigent families. There is no cost for the donor family.

My sister had a heart transplant on 11/19/10 and she passed away 11/14/14. I want to know how to start an awareness for Black people in my hometown about being a organ donor. 

Contact your local organ procurement organization, contact your social worker and they can put you in touch.

How can people get involved and help to educate others about this important issue?

Call Marion Shuck 630-758-2616  at the Gift of Hope and we will find the appropriate organization. 

Are there certain diseases like hypertension or diabetes that keeps you from being a organ or tissue donor?

Neither of those diseases are game stoppers, quite often organs are recovered from diabetics or from people with hypertension. Again, they are evaluated on their individual merit.

Why are organs being sold on the black market?

We don’t know that to be true. However, if you have evidence, you should run, not walk to the police and share that information with them.

What’s the number to donate a kidney?

Call your local transplant hospital.

I heard if you’re in an accident and your an organ donor, they don’t try as hard to save you because they need your parts.

Absolutely not true, doctors and EMTs take an oath to save your life. When an EMT arrives at the scene of an accident, they try to extricate you from the situation you are in, not look for your wallet.

What about the rumors that Black organs are genetically stronger?

It is exactly that, a rumor.

How do you get on a list to see if your kidney is compatible to donate should you be a match?

Within your state, contact to the appropriate transplant coordinator – call Marion Shuck, Manager, Community Affairs at the Gift of Hope 630-758-2616 for assistance.

Can you donate a heart that was already donated?

No, if an organ has been donated, the possibility of re-donating is slim because of the medicines used to keep the organ viable and non rejected.

After donating a kidney, how much do your eating and drinking habits have to change?

There will be some concerns about your ability to successfully rid your body or liquid waste, however, moderate cutbacks of intake of fluids and you should be fine.

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