Minority Donation Day Highlights Unique Need

More than 8,000 Texans are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Chances of success in those transplants is often enhanced by matching organs between members of the same racial groups.

But, minority donors are often hard to find, especially in the state of Texas.

Today kicks off minority organ donation month.

KLTV 7's Lakecia Shockley spoke with one east Texas family who says giving the gift of life was choice they didn't regret.

For the Warren family, looking at photos of their lost son and brother brings back wonderful memories.

Four years ago at 23, Welton was killed while trimming trees.

"The tree was falling towards him and he was trying to get out of the way of the tree and he accidentally went into the highway," Welton's father, Wendell Warren, told us.

Welton was hit by a car and a semi-truck. The impact left him brain dead. And it left his parents with the giving decision to donate his organs.

"At the time, it was just a way to make sure he lived on. You'll never really get over the lost of a child or any loved one but it does bring a sense of peace and contintment," said his mother, Carolyn Warren.

Welton's organs were donated to two recipients through Southwest Transplant Alliance. And their client service coordinator Sharon Brown says more minority donors are needed.

"In Texas, 44 percent of the waiting list is made up of Hispanics, 33 percent is Caucasians, and 21 percent is African American. 6,000 people die while waiting for that organ to become available that they need. That's 18 people everyday."

With the click of a mouse, Texas organs donors can now register online.

"It's quick, it's simple. It makes your wishes legal and your family can not override these wishes but more importantly, it really takes that burden of making that decision off of your family."

And for the Warren family, it was a decision they don't regret.

"You still have the memory of your loved one, you have him there. He's whole in every sense of the way," said Carolyn Warren.

Lakecia Shockley, reporting. lshockley@kltv.com