Lack of minority organ donors leading to longer wait times - WNCN: News, Weather

Lack of minority organ donors leading to longer wait times

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High school basketball coach William Knight playing with his dog in his yard. High school basketball coach William Knight playing with his dog in his yard.
GREENVILLE, N.C. -

A lack of minority organ donors is leading to African-Americans, Latinos and other minorities in need of organ transplants waiting a long time.

Dwain Cooper of "Donate Life North Carolina" said minorities make up a small portion of organ donors yet 57 percent of people on the U.S. organ transplant list are minorities.

"Naturally, you would be better matched within your own ethnic group," Cooper said.

Cooper explained this could lead to minorities waiting longer for a vital organ from a person of a different ethnicity.

The reason minorities make up a significant portion of the transplant list is due to African-Americans and Latinos being at greater risk for diseases like diabetes which could require organ transplants.

Basketball coach and kidney recipient William Knight said African-Americans, in particular, refuse to register as a donor because they fear a doctor would rather harvest their organs than save their lives. 

African-Americans also generally prefer keeping their organs for religious reasons, particularly when it comes to the afterlife.

It's something Coach Knight's trying to change.

"Join the team," Knight said. "Be an organ donor."

LINKS

For previous stories 9 On Your Side did on Coach Knight, click here, here and here.

If you're interested in becoming an organ donor or if you would like to know your rights as an organ donor, click here.

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