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LOLA Pushes for Liver Awareness
“Conventional wisdom has it that Latino families in the United States are less likely than average to agree to own donation, but not so in New York City: Latinos here have taken matters into their own hands.”
In fact, in New York City last year, 58 percent of Latinos agreed to allow the organs of their recently-deceased loved ones to be used for donation. That was the highest percentage of any ethnic group.
Latino Organization for Liver Awareness (LOLA) Founder Debbie Delgado-Vega is out to make some noise about organ donation and about illnesses that adversely affect liver function The situation is critical, she says, because “there are far more people who need organ transplants than there are donors to provide those organs.”
Sabado Gigante’s Don Francisco (left), Debbie Delgado-Vega and legendary TV personality Raul Velasco.
Given the fact that one of every 50 Hispanics has hepatitis C – a disease which causes liver inflammation and can lead to liver cancer and death – it is crucial for at-risk individuals to get tested and for Latinos in general to consider organ donation Those at greatest risk of Hepatitis C infection are people who received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992, as well as intravenous drug users and long-term hemodialysis patients.
LOLA, founded m 1994 by Delgado-Vega – herself the recipient of a liver transplant – brings information on liver diseases, liver transplants, and organ and tissue donation to Spanish-speaking patients, their families and the general public through radio, television and educational programs. The organization also refers patients to medical professionals and treatment centers for screening, treatment or transplant evaluation.
For more information about becoming an organ donor, call LOLA at (718) 892-8697, or visit www.LOLA-national.org.