What motivated me to get involved and become a DonateLife Ambassador?
Through UNOS’ intervention, my brother Jose was able to receive a heart transplant. In my community, there have been two organ recipients: one received a kidney and the other a liver transplant. Furthermore, a young man donated his organs when he had brain death suffering a car accident.
I want to thank UNOS for their valuable efforts for the hope that it gave my family and many others. The heart transplant of Jose inspired me to help others. As a result, Cadena de Via festival, originated as a way to honor the person who gave Jose ahis new heart, and with it, a second chance at life.
His donor is the first link of hope in the Cadena de Vida festival. At first, my brother’s experience was my only inspiration, but throughout the years, I have realized that this project is much bigger. I realized that organ donation not only affected my family but on a daily basis, it affects members of my community.
Helping others has been a remarkable life experience. I thought I was helping others and I did not realize that I was being helped by the experience. That was fulfilling my life in incredible ways. I discovered the happiness one gets from helping others. I have had the opportunity of meeting wonderful people that use their talents to help others.
Cadena de Vida festival is a celebration with live music, Zumba classes, food, activities for the children, and testimonials. Cadena de Vida is an opportunity to celebrate, share and enjoy the gift of life. The most important aspect of this festival is to promote, educate, and raise awareness about organ, tissue and blood donation.
The first festival in 2011 had an assistance of about 150 people. We have had a great turnout of about 700 people. During the Cadena de Vida annual festivals, the American Red Cross has collected 231 units of blood. The collected blood has possibly helped improve the quality of life and/or saved the life of about 693 persons. Many of the blood donors were donating blood for the first time. And now they donate blood regularly, in addition many have registered to become organ and tissue donors.
Most importantly, members of the community have changed their way of thinking about this matter and now they have the correct information to share responsibly.
Because the festival Cadena de Vida has a direct impact within our community, I feel very blessed to be part of this link of hope. For me, life is a gift and it is a responsibility to fight for it. It is important to educate the community in a responsible way about organ donation. For me, it is a challenge and a commitment.
I am thankful to all that have inspired me and that have made this project possible.