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13/05/2014: THE BEST GIFT ONE CAN GIVE -- APRIL'S TALAKAYAN SA KONSULADO SHOWCASED THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION

The third installment of the Philippine Consulate General’s monthly series, Talakayan sa Konsulado, highlighted the month of April as National Donate Life Month.  The Talakayan was held on Friday, 25 April 2014.  Speakers from the California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN) were present to enlighten the audience on the importance of organ and tissue donation and transplantation within the Filipino community.

The April panel discussion is the latest effort in an ongoing collaboration between the Philippine Consulate General and CTDN in support of the Puso Ng Pinoy (Heart of a Filipino) movement. Dedicated to saving and improving lives by facilitating organ and tissue donation for transplantation, CTDN’s Puso ng Pinoy Movement aims to educate the the Filipino community about the need for more registered organ and tissue donors.

During the panel discussion, Ayanna Anderson, West Bay community development liaison for CTDN, highlighted the fact that there are currently nearly 1,500 residents of Filipino descent awaiting lifesaving transplants throughout the U.S., most of whom are waiting for kidneys.

“There are several misconceptions about donation that can serve as emotional barriers to signing up as potential organ and tissue donors,” stated Ms. Anderson. “One is that people may feel that they are too old or unhealthy.  Second is that people may have concerns that donation is not supported by their religion. Third is the fear that once a person has the donor dot on their driver license or state identification, healthcare professionals may not come to their aid if they are in need of medical attention.”

Ms. Ayanna Anderson of CTDN talks about organ and tissue donation.

Throughout her presentation, Ms. Anderson addressed these myths. “Anyone who has the intention of saving lives who wants to sign up as a donor should do so; we never want anyone to rule themselves out due to concerns about age or health. Let the medical professionals decide if you are medically eligible to give the gift of life as a donor” stated Ms. Anderson. Showcasing “pope cards” that feature a statement of support for organ donation penned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Ms. Anderson affirmed that the Catholic Church supports organ and tissue donation. Addressing the final concern about whether being registered as a donor hinders the delivery of healthcare services, Ms. Anderson further noted that, “Being a registered organ donor in no way precludes anyone from receiving lifesaving medical care.”

During the panel, several Puso ng Pinoy champions were on hand to share their connection to organ and tissue donation.   Mrs. Gilda Gopal and Mr. Vicente Agor both suffered from diabetes that eventually led to kidney failure. Like thousands of others,Gilda and Vicente waited years before they received their lifesaving transplants. Thanks to their new lease on life, Gilda and Vicente enjoy all that life has to offer: they travel, maintain very fulfilling careers and advocate for the gift of life as Donate Life Ambassadors with CTDN.

Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon ended the forum by stating that each and every individual has the ability to save many lives.  He encouraged the audience to register as organ and tissue donors, and stressed that this is the best gift that one can give.

Signing up as a registered organ and tissue donor is one click away when you visit: www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org.  Be sure to also say “YES” to donation then next time you are completing your driver license or state identification application at the DMV. Share your donation decision with your family and loved ones.

If you are interested in becoming part of CTDN’s Puso ng Pinoy movement, please visit: ctdn.org/pusongpinoy.html.

Talakayan sa Konsulado is a monthly forum organized by the Philippine Consulate General in partnership with the Philippine American Press Club.  Each month, a topic relevant to the Filipino American community is being discussed with experts and authorities on the subject leading the dialogue.  To learn about future topics of the Talakayan, please visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/PCGSF.