Friday, July 30, 1999

Minorities urged to consider
organ donations

By Helen Altonn


Delores Tee Sy, known as "TC," says she's "hoping for a miracle."

The 47-year-old woman has aplastic anemia and needs a bone marrow transplant.

"I'm hoping someone out there is going to be a match for me," she said.

Tee Sy was born in the Philippines and came here in 1969. She and her husband, Heyly, have two children, ages 23 and 25.

She is one of many islanders of minority ethnic backgrounds on waiting lists for bone marrow and organ transplants.

Tomorrow has been declared National Minority Donation Awareness Day to alert the public to the needs and what they can do to help.

The Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program will hold a health fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Daiei Waipahu, 94-144 Farrington Highway.

Tony Sagayadoro, who heads the program, is among those waiting for a kidney. He urges everyone to consider organ donation.

"Give us a chance to explain to them the benefit of organ donation, especially by the minorities, because numbers just keep increasing and increasing, and minorities are increasing as well," he said.


Bullet For information about organ donations, call the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii's 24-hour hot line, (800) 599-7630.

Bullet For bone marrow donation information, call coordinator Suzanne Nemiroff, pager, 547-6024.

"We want especially Asian-Pacific islanders," said Roy Yonashiro, donor recruitment coordinator for the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry at St. Francis Medical Center.

He said about 20 people are searching for bone marrow donors, and most are ethnic minority members.

Donna Pacheco, heart and liver transplant coordinator at St. Francis, said 215 patients are waiting for organs: 21 for livers, four for hearts and 190 for kidneys. Two of the 190 also need a pancreas.

Five kidney transplants were performed in the past two weeks, but the waiting list is growing faster than donations, Pacheco said.

"People are going to die waiting," she said.

"We have people critically ill waiting, and it's such a miracle when they get it. In medicine there's no more incredible experience than to see people who are literally dying get a whole new chance at life, and it's all because of a gift."

Tee Sy, of Ewa Beach, works full time at First Hawaiian Bank, handling commercial loan documentations. She also had a second part-time job at Liberty House but became so tired she had to give it up.

She gives herself shots three times a week to boost her red cells, which she said must be helping because she used to go for a blood transfusion every two weeks, and now it's about every 2 months.

First Hawaiian had a special bone marrow drive for Tee Say.

"So far, no match for me," she said. "But I never lose hope."

The Health Fair tomorrow will feature blood pressure and kidney screenings, organ and tissue donation education and bone marrow donor recruitment.

Three bands sponsored by Tanori Productions will perform.

Sponsors of the fair include St. Francis Medical Center, the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program and Organ Donor Center of Hawaii.

Also, the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, Filipino Nurses Organization of Hawaii, Daiei (USA) Inc., Marrow Foundation, University of the Philippines Association, Filipino Coalition for Solidarity, Aloha Medical Mission and Oahu Filipino Community Council.

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