DIXON, Ill. (WTVO) — One local mom’s tragedy turns into a life-saving act for several strangers. Choosing to donate her daughter’s organs was a tough decision, but our team talked to the mom and an area expert who says there’s a need for more people of color to check the donor box.
“We struggle everyday with the hole,” said Cathleen Dixon, Kira’s mom.
Kira was about to start her senior year at Dixon High School when she passed away. Cathleen Dixon was faced with the decision of whether or not to donate her daughter’s organs.
“It was a very difficult decision to make, but I felt that she was a very compassionate person and she was done with this body and this lifetime she want to give that to someone else who could use those organs to have more time,” Dixon explained.
She ended up saving five lives with her decision.
“I don’t know who the recipients of her organs were, but I did receive a letter back from one person who received her liver and they were also Mexican-American,” Dixon explained.
Around 109,000 Americans are waiting for organs. Among those waiting, there’s a disparity among minority groups.
“The gap exists because African Americans and other minorities have a mistrust of healthcare,” explained Marion Shuck of Gift of Hope.
In 2019, a breakdown of those waiting for an organ donation showed 40% were Caucasian, 29% African American, 20% Hispanic, and 11% Asian or Native American.
“You can see the disparity in the number of people who are receiving transplants,” Shuck explained. “When we have ethnic minorities donate to other ethnic minorities then you have a less chance of rejection over the organ because of the genetic makeup.”
However, she says bottom line “donation is donation.” Each race can donate to each other.