Celebrating two birthdays each year is common now for Rosa Simmons, Johnny Stubbs and other transplant survivors.
The dates of their births and the dates of their transplants mark double occasions of happiness.
They will share their compelling stories at a program presented by The Links Inc. in partnership with Life Alliance Organ Recovery, a Division of the Daughtry Family Department of Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The event will take place Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon in the auditorium at the Miami Dade College Medical Campus, 950 NW 20th St., Miami.
Some transplant recipients will carry banners with pictures of the organs they received for a second chance at life.
The keynote speaker, Rosetta Rolle Hylton, communications coordinator of Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency, lost a brother who needed a transplant.
“My brother missed a second chance at life because no suitable donor was available at the time,” Hylton said. “The need is real, to spread the word about organ donations. Through our work with The Links, Linkages for Life Initiative we have the opportunity to engage the community to save lives.”
The Links’ Southern Area Director, Eneid Francis, said, “We continually seek to promote deliverable and sustainable solutions that aid in reducing social, economic, education and health disparities in the communities we serve.
African Americans currently make up 25 percent of the total population and represent 35 percent of the patients waiting for organ transplants.
It is imperative that we take every opportunity to extinguish the barriers to donation created by fear through education and empower as many people as possible to take control of their health and the health of their loved ones, particularly in our minority communities.”
An international not-for-profit corporation, The Links was established in 1946.
This group of accomplished, dedicated women is led by president, Margot James Copeland.
The membership consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 276 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.
The members are influential decision-makers and opinion leaders. They represent women who make a difference in the nation, the world and their communities.
For example, Regina Jollivette Frazier, the ninth president of The Links is the retired director of pharmacy at the University of Miami Hospital & Clinics, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The Linkages to Life Initiative aims to give facts and dispel myths about donation and transplantation.
This community service project kicks off the organization’s 42nd Southern Area Conference hosted by the South Florida Cluster Chapters (Greater Miami, Dade County and Miami-Biscayne Bay), May 7-12.
The Lead Chapter Liaison is DoLores Smith Washington. Anne Herriott is the Southern Area Secretary. I have been a member since 1987.
More than 400 Links representing chapters in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Nassau have registered for the conference.
This May 7 community event is intended to be a celebration of life and promote and facilitate educational opportunities regarding organ and tissue donations in minority communities. It is free and open to the public.
For information and to RSVP, call 305.775-2798 or dbwaiters @bellsouth.net.