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Friday, March 31, 2000

‘Tree of Life’
encourages Filipinos
to donate organs

Star-bulletin staff


A "Tree of Life" -- a symbol of hope for people waiting for organ transplants -- will be planted in a ceremony at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Philippine Consulate.

The event will kick off "Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation Awareness Month in Hawaii," organized by Filipino organizations and businesses to increase awareness of the need for organs and tissues.

The tree planting recognizes major strides in encouraging Filipinos to become organ donors and those who have made such gifts.

Three years ago only 3 percent of Hawaii donors were Filipino; last year it was 19 percent, said Tony Sagayadoro, who heads the Minority Organ Transplant Tissue Education Program of Honolulu.

However, 12 people in Hawaii die each year waiting for organs because there aren't enough donations, Sagayadoro said.

More than 68,000 people in the United States are waiting for organs and more than 228 are Hawaii residents of various ethnic backgrounds, he said. They need heart, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.

The Organ Donor Center of Hawaii, MOTTEP and the Hawaii Organ Donation Coalition will sponsor many events throughout the month to inform people of the need for organ, tissue and eye donations.

Families will be encouraged to discuss and make decisions about donations. A person may register to be an organ donor but family members make the decision after a death, so it's essential that they be informed of a person's wishes.

The Organ Donor Center of Hawaii presents these facts about organ donations:

Bullet One donor can benefit 25 people.
Bullet All major religions support organ donation.
Bullet Everything medically possible is done to save a patient's life before donation is considered.
Bullet Donation doesn't affect the appearance of the body or interfere with funeral arrangements.
Bullet There is no cost or payment for donation.
Bullet Age and medical history shouldn't prevent anyone from considering organ and tissue donation.
Bullet Studies show families receive comfort through organ donations.

For more information, call 599-7630.

E-mail to City Desk

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