Natasha Coe's February 3, 2010 Facebook status was not a typical one. "I think I may donate one of my kidneys. If anyone knows someone on the waiting list for one, let me know," it read. The response she received is the subject of a documentary called "Does Anybody Need a Kidney?" slated to run at a Milwaukee wellness fair on April 20.
According to the Office Of Minority Health, while 29 percent of the total candidates currently waiting for organ transplants are Black American, they comprised 14 percent of organ donors in 2012. The disparity is not only the reason why Coe, who is biracial, offered up her kidney to Facebook friends -- one of whom was a high school classmate whose stepmom would ultimately receive the organ -- but the reason why she decided to document it the forthcoming film.
"After reading an article and recent events that have happened, I think I may donate one of my kidneys," Coe wrote on Facebook, referencing the death of her ex-boyfriend's uncle from kidney failure, which she later explained is what prompted her to read up on the subject of organ donation and figure out what she could do to help, in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"They took my left kidney," Coe told the paper, posing for a photo of a tattoo she got on the left side of her back featuring a kidney with a bright-eyed smile and a green ribbon marking the date of an operation: 4/3/12.
The recipient of the kind act was 60-year-old Debbie Will of Greenfield, Wisconsin who had suffered kidney failure after her second child was born in the 1970s. According to the Sentinel, Will's sister donated a kidney to her in 1979, but it gave out in March 2008, causing her to have dialysis five days a week, for three to four hours at a time, to survive.
"I thought it was unusual someone would do something like this," Will said, adding that Coe never wavered on her offer once the match was made.
Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a way to boost the number of potential organ donors, introducing a feature that allows users to share their decision to be an organ donor on the website. Upon the feature's debut, 6,000 people enrolled through 22 state registries, registries that typically see less than 400 sign up per day.
In Illinois, Secretary of State Jesse White announced Monday an appeal he's making to African-American churches to help boost the level of organ donations in the state.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services organ donor website, organs are not matched by race or ethnicity and people of different races and ethnicity "frequently match one another." Everyone will have a greater chance of receiving an organ, however, "if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background," the website says.
Check out a preview of Coe's film above, which will be shown April 20 at a wellness fair at Running Rebels Community Organization, the nonprofit where she works with at-risk youths.
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