African-Americans Struggle For Kidney Donations | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

African-Americans Struggle For Kidney Donations

Play associated audio

By Rebecca Sheir

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports more than a third of people awaiting kidney transplants in the U.S. are African-American, yet they are less likely to receive transplanted kidneys than whites.

But in a mass kidney exchange performed in the D.C. area, more than half the recipients are African-American.

Dr. Jimmy Light performed some of the transplants in the historic swap, which involved a chain of nearly 30 people giving and receiving kidneys. Many of the recipients had been on dialysis for years.

"Dialysis keeps you alive, but a transplant lets you live," he says. "These people have their lives."

That would be the 14 recipients, nine of whom are African-American.

Light says African-Americans have the best chance of a successful kidney transplant from a black donor. But finding one can be tough, since African-Americans are more prone to diabetes and high blood pressure, and, therefore, kidney disease.

Barbara Norton, a white woman from Rockville, Maryland, donated her kidney to Tracye Johnson, an African-American woman from Waldorf.

"What I realized immediately was there’s a desperate need to address those suffering from kidney disease," Norton says, "especially those in the African-American community."

Two weeks after the transplant, Tracye Johnson says she feels worlds better than before.

"I made up t-shirts to try to find a donor," she recalls. "My t-shirts said: ‘I Need A Donor, So I Can Have Wings To Fly.’ And she’s given me wings to fly!"

Johnson says she looks forward to a brand "new life."

NPR

Lost — Then Found — Along The Border, Objects Become Art

A photographer's journey along the U.S.-Mexico border turned up dramatic images of lost possessions. Those found items were later made into instruments that sound just like that desolate landscape.
NPR

Need A New Sweet Potato Recipe For Your Thanksgiving Table? Try Gnocchi

Because some cooks like to mix it up for Thanksgiving, we offer a Found Recipe from our archives: Julia Della Croce's purple sweet potato gnocchi.
NPR

Some In Las Vegas Not Sold On Obama's Immigration Pitch

President Obama made his sales pitch for why five million people should be protected from deportation, Friday. But many in Las Vegas, where Obama defended the executive action, aren't happy about the changes.
NPR

Car Ride Service Puts Gender In The Driver's Seat

Car share programs are extremely popular, but so are concerns for safety. NPR's Tess Vigeland talks to Stella Mateo, founder of SheRides, which allows passengers to choose the gender of their driver.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.