Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) will host a sold-out black-tie event, “Influencing the Future of Donation—A Black History Month Celebration,” on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at Two Mississippi Museums. The program will begin at 7pm and will feature testimonials from African-American organ recipients as well as honoring twelve area influencers who participated in a recent campaign called “Yes You Should,” aimed at having more Mississippians add their names to the organ donor registry. These influencers are:
- Dr. Justin Turner, Chief Medical Officer, Mississippi Dept of Health
- Maisie Brown, Community Organizer
- Coke Bumaye, Hip-Hop Artist
- Java Chatman, Director of Radio at Mississippi Public Broadcasting
- Nick Wallace, Chef/Culinary Curator
- Michelle “Chelle B” Boyd, On-Air Talent/Host
- Frank Sutton, Judge, Pastor, and former NFL Player
- Brothers Kerry and Kelly Nash, Creator and Comedian
- Maggie Wade, News Anchor – WLBT
- DJ Young Venom, DJ/Owner of Offbeat
- Hillman Frazier, State Senator
The MORA campaign, which has been running on local streaming service, on social media platforms, and on billboards across the greater Jackson area since October 2023, encourages everyone to have the conversation about donation with their loved ones and to add their name to the registry at www.YesYouShould.org.
“We have been so pleased with the response to this event. We hope to further the understanding of why being a registered donor is so very important. Regardless of who we are or what we do, we all may know someone who is waiting on a lifesaving kidney, liver, heart, or other transplant. It’s time to get serious about helping our neighbors by separating the facts from the myths, having tough conversations, and registering as organ and tissue donors,” said Belinda Lane, Community Outreach Coordinator for MORA and lead organizer of the event.
In Mississippi, almost 70% of patients waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, including 90% of those who are waiting for a kidney, are Black/African-American. One reason for these high percentages are higher rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes—diseases that lead to organ failure. While donors and recipients from different ethnic backgrounds can and do often match, everyone on the transplant waiting list has a better chance of receiving the needed organ(s) when there are many donors from their racial or ethnic background. Compatible blood types and tissue markers, which play a crucial role in matching donors with recipients, are more likely to be found among people of the same ethnicity. The more people from your ethnic group who are willing to donate, the more likely you or your loved one are to find a timely, compatible match with a successful long-term outcome.