Gift of Hope Celebrates National Minority Donor Awareness Week With "Faces of Hope" Awards - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Gift of Hope Celebrates National Minority Donor Awareness Week With "Faces of Hope" Awards

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SOURCE Gift of Hope

Awards Ceremony To Celebrate High Donor Authorization Rate Among Latinos and Recognize Key Contributors

CHICAGO, Aug. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network kicked off National Minority Donor Awareness week, (August 1-7), with the inaugural "Faces of Hope" Awards ceremony on July 31st. The "Faces of Hope" distinction was awarded to Chicago city officials and professionals who through their work have delivered long-term benefits to Hispanics and to the area of organ donation and transplantation. During this week, Gift of Hope will also honor the generosity of multicultural donors and their families. As part of the event, Fernando Martinez' poignant testimony about how his wife and Heroine saved his life, underscored the critical need for Latinos to register their decision to save lives through organ and tissue donation.

"Now more than ever, Hispanics are demonstrating a greater understanding about the facts and benefits surrounding organ donation. The donor authorization rate among Latinos in Illinois is a remarkable 80% making it one of the highest in the country." Raiza Mendoza, Manager of Hispanic Affairs for Gift of Hope. "This is due in part to Gift of Hope's continuous efforts to provide information through testimonials, educational initiatives, programs and community events," concluded Mendoza.

Additionally, recent historic legislative and medical milestones like SB0741 – TVDL y SB0957 – Medicare & Medicaid alignment, provide greater opportunities for Latinos to register their decisions to be organ donors and gain access to organ transplantation. This is why Gift of Hope is honoring the contributions and achievements of State Senator, 20th District, Iris Y. Martinez, State Representative, 24th District, Elizabeth "Lisa" Hernandez, State Representative, 4th District, Cynthia Soto, State Representative, 2nd District, Edward "Eddie" Acevedo, State Representative, 39th District, Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios, Dr. David Ansell, Senior Vice President, Clinical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Jose Oberholzer MD, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, Andrés Jaramillo Ph.D., Director of the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory at Gift of Hope, Jose R. Sanchez, President & CEO, Norwegian American Hospital, Juan Zavala, President of Latinos for Health, and Vicente Serrano, Producer and Journalist, "Sin Censura" Radio and TV.

"The noteworthy work and accomplishments of these extraordinary individuals has impacted thousands of Latinos and has left a positive and lasting imprint on the landscape of organ and tissue donation in Chicago for years to come, making them truly 'Faces of Hope'," said Kevin Cmunt, Gift of Hope's President/CEO. "We look forward to continue our work together to enrich the lives of the people in our communities," concluded Cmunt.

Gift of Hope's efforts in the Latino community have been increasingly fruitful, however the shortage of Hispanic organ donors remains critical and as the community continues to grow, so will the need for donors. The average number of people who die each year before they can receive a lifesaving organ transplant is nearly 11,000 – or 30 people every day. Dr. Christopher Barry, a transplant surgeon and researcher says, "This is the equivalent of 22 jumbo jets crashing every year with no survivors." Sadly, the solution to this alarming number of deaths lies in the willingness of every person to become an organ donor.

Organ and tissue donation represents the opportunity to walk away from indifference and brings us closer to ease the suffering of those that are most vulnerable, giving them the gift of hope and life. For more information about organ donation visit:



Janet Domínguez
Hispanic Media Relations

P: 312.281.2044

C: 630.779.3800

Sonia Sotello
Hispanic Media Relations
P: 312.281.2164
C: 312.909-7259

About Gift of Hope

Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network is a nonprofit organization that coordinates donation of organs and tissues with 180 hospitals in Illinois and northeast Indiana. Since its inception in 1986, Gift of Hope has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of more than 20,000 organ transplant beneficiaries, and bettering the lives of hundreds of thousands of recipients of tissue transplants. For more information: or call: 877-577-3747.

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