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African Americans have fewer options for donor organs and bone marrow

February 10, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
  • Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter visits with player Kevin Jordan a day after donating a kidney to Jordan.
Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter visits with player Kevin Jordan a… (Steve Shutt / Wake Forest…)

The story this week on Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter who donated a kidney to one of his players is a reminder not only of the depth of some people's generosity but also of the need for more tissue donation to serve African Americans and other under-represented minority groups.

Walter donated a kidney to Kevin Jordan, 19, after Jordan became ill from a disease called anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody vasculitis. Jordan, an African American, was undergoing kidney dialysis while in search of a donor kidney. His relatives were not matches for donation. Although his coach is white, Walter was a match. Typically, people are more likely to find a donor match from someone of their own race or ethnicity.

African Americans have a much harder time finding donor organs and donor bone marrow. Nordstrom Inc. is running a campaign this month to raise awareness of the need for more African American marrow and umbilical cord blood donors. For every person who joins the "Be the Match Registry" as a potential marrow donor, Nordstrom will cover the $100 registry cost.

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