I grew up in a mixed-race household; my mom is white, and my dad is an immigrant from the Philippines. Although they grew up in different cultures, both of my parents shared organ donation as a value and expressed their wishes to be deceased organ donors. However, we didn’t talk about organ donation often.
This changed when I started college and organ donation became a passion for me. During my first month of college, I attended a @sodanational event and heard how other students had been personally impacted by organ donation. Their stories inspired me, and I knew there was more to be done so no one dies without a transplant. Ever since that event, I have considered myself a life-long organ donation advocate.
While I was a student, I hosted dozens of education and registration events. I even volunteered for our OPO with my SODA chapter. My favorite volunteer event was making blankets for donor families. It felt nice to give back to families who gave the gift of life. Now, I know how meaningful these blankets are because my partner’s dad went through the process of being an organ donor and we have a volunteer-made blanket displayed in our home.
I continue to be a part of the organ donation community and have the pleasure to support students across the country today who save lives through organ donation advocacy as SODA’s Program Director.
Being an organ donation advocate has opened the door for many important conversations about organ donation, including ones with my family. I hope my passion and facts I’ve shared about organ donation inspires them to be advocates too.