It’s a legacy that no individual or group should have to claim. Yet, in the United States, people of Hispanic descent are 1.5 times more likely to have kidney failure than White Americans. Researchers do not fully understand why Hispanics are at a higher risk. However, 10 percent of Hispanic Americans have diabetes – the leading cause of kidney disease. High blood pressure, diet, obesity, and access to healthcare also may play a role.
In an effort to alert the public – particularly those who speak Spanish – about the prevalence and seriousness of kidney disease among Hispanics and the urgent need for more living kidney donors, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has produced two, new 30-second, Spanish-language video public service announcements for media across the country. Each PSA prominently promotes THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE, NKF’s platform that provides nationwide outreach designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor.
The PSAs feature kidney transplant recipients: Claudia Hernandez, born in Colombia; and Mati Rodriguez, whose parents were born in Mexico. Each woman shares a heartfelt story of how living organ donation saved her life. (The 30-second PSAs are linked via their names above. View their full video interviews here: Hernandez; and Rodriguez)
“I was a very young person when I needed my first transplant,” said Claudia Hernandez, mother of a teen-age son. “I was starting to live. I had the American dream. I wanted to do so many things with my life. I wanted to triumph, achieve, work, enjoy, and be happy. Without the kidney donations, my life would be totally marginal.”
The kidneys Hernandez received were donated by two of her brothers, who flew to the United States from Colombia to save their sister’s life. Fifteen years after her second transplant, Hernandez is healthy. “To my brothers, they know how much I love them. They are my heroes, my champions,” she says.
Rodriguez, too, is doing well and says her life is “back to normal” after her transplant and the kidney failure that led to it. “There came a point when I was told, ‘There is nothing else that we can do for you. You will need a kidney,'” Rodriguez said. “I was confused. My head didn’t want to take the information that was given to me – that my life was going to change completely.”
Two years ago, Rodriguez received the gift of life when her sister donated one of her kidneys to her. “My doctor informed me that it was better to have a family member donate because rejection episodes are less frequent. As a transplant recipient, it is very important to me that the Spanish-speaking community be educated and informed on how to be a living donor.”
The video PSAs will launch during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed every year from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The 2018 National Hispanic Heritage Month theme is “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance Our Traditions.” In keeping with this collective affirmation, NKF seeks to collaborate and connect more with Hispanics who have kidney disease, as well as those who may be potential kidney donors. Sharing the new Spanish-language PSAs with electronic media across the nation is intended to heighten awareness in countless communities, where it can ultimately help patients and their families leave legacies of better kidney health.
THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE includes direct patient and caregiver support through our toll-free helpline, 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All of these resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a life-saving living organ donation. For more information, visit www.kidney.org/livingdonation. Also visit NKF’s Spanish-language resources.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).