Family Focus: Local organization works to increase minority organ donors

by: Erica Bryant Updated:

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The need for organ donors in the minority community is critical.

Minorities currently make up about 27 percent of the U.S. population, but more than 50 percent of those are in need of transplants.

Eyewitness News anchor Erica Bryant found one man working to encourage people to register.

Bobby Height was diagnosed with a rare heart disease in 2007. Height, an athlete drafted to the New York Yankees, was shocked when he was diagnosed. His anxiety grew when he was told he needed an immediate organ transplant in order to survive.

"You start thinking about your family and your kids and granddaughter; not being here for them," said Height.

He said he was blessed with a donor match in 33 days, but others are not always so lucky.

Every day, 18 people die waiting for a match, many of them minorities.

Debbie Gibbs from LifeShare of the Carolinas said the issue lies in high blood pressure and diabetes.

"Minorities have a greater need, so the waiting list, particularly for kidneys, is really high," said Gibbs.

Height now volunteers for LifeShare of the Carolinas and hopes more people will take that step.

"We need your organs here on Earth, we don't need them in heaven, so leave them here so we can use them," said Height.

Those wishing to register as an organ donor can do so at the Department of Motor Vehicles or on the LifeShare of the Carolinas website.