Filipino community organizations to present organ donor benefits program

Filipino community groups have scheduled an education program at Wilcox Memorial Hospital on April 12 to inform the public about the benefits of organ donor transplants.

The intent behind the event is to encourage more Filipino families to consider organ donations, including those that benefit people of Filipino ancestry.

Filipinos statewide have been consistently overrepresented on waiting lists for organ transplants and are underrepresented as donors.

The Kaua’i event is scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. in three conference rooms at the hospital. The event is sponsored by the Kaua’i Fil-Am Jaycees, Kaua’i Filipino Community Council and Wilcox Health System.

The event is part of the Bayanihan Filipino education program, a statewide project of the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, Organ Donor Center of Hawaii and the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii/University of Hawai’i in collaboration with community groups.

The term “Bayanihan” is term used by Filipinos all over the world. It refers to a tradition in the Philippines where neighbors would help families relocate by putting the home of the families on their backs and moving it to the another location, according to event coordinators.

Since 1994, the groups that support the Bayanihan program have worked with Hawai’i’s Filipino community to spread the word about the number one problem facing organ transplant surgery: the shortage of organs and tissues.

The collaboration of the three groups has led to encouraging results, according to representatives with the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program.

Apparently due to more education, more Filipino families have chosen to donate when their love ones die.

Even with more donations, Hawai’i’s transplant list has doubled since 1997, according to representatives for the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education organization.

The organization also noted:

  • In Hawai’i, at least one person a month dies waiting for a transplant.
  • Donations among minorities across the United States are very low.
  • Nearly half of Hawai’i’s dialysis patients is of Filipino ancestry.
  • Getting a match is more likely if the donor also is of Filipino ancestry.

Following a meeting of advisors with the Minority Organ Tissue organization last November, a decision was made to have proponents with the program and UH apply for a grant with the federal government.

Subsequently, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health awarded a five-year grant for the Bayanihan program.

Representatives or staff with the program are to join with the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii in discussing donations with the families of potential organ donors.

For more information about the April 12 meeting on Kaua’i, contact Angel Acorda at 639-4226, Millie Curtis at 651-3381 or Tony Sagayadoro at 1-877-855-0603 (toll free) or at


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