The Student News Site of Dillard University



    Local athletes, DU students join the cause to increase organ donation

    New Orleans Hornets’ rookie star guard, J.R. Smith and guard Craig "Speedy" Claxton were in Kearny’s lounge last Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. signing autographs and taking pictures for the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.

    The agency participated as a part of Student Health Services’ Wellness Week to promote education on organ and tissue donation. The agency also wanted to bring awareness about organ donation to the black community and they began by spreading the word at a historically black university.

    Astoundingly, there are 1600 people in Louisiana who are waiting for organ donations and over 900 of them are African American.

    At the event, the agency gave out free popcorn and peanuts with an array of other items such as key chains, water bottles, pins, shirts, hats and more. Many Dillard students showed their support of the cause by signing up to become organ donors and Community Outreach volunteers.

    J.R. Smith also showed he enjoyed being at the event. "I like having fun and being around people my own age," said Smith. "I want to do more with LOPA and I enjoy doing things like this. A lot of guys my age don’t get a chance to help out their city as well as youth. "

    Ironically, the public relations spokesperson for the Hornets, Steve Martin, was the Director of Athletics at Dillard from 2000-2002. He was able to bring out the Hornets’ players as well as the Hornets’ mascot Hugo.

    LOPA and the Hornets became partners because both are dedicated to service in the community. "We saw the Hornets doing things similar to what we were doing in the community so we decided to connect with them," said Cheryl McGee-Hills, a multi-cultural affairs administrator for LOPA. McGee-Hills passed out the items to the students who gave compliments about the event.

    "The event was a very nice surprise," said Charlotte Campbell, a sophomore from Baton Rouge. "It showed no matter how famous you are you can come back and give to the community."

    Patrick Okeke, a junior mass communication major, agreed. "It was good to see people who you might consider celebrities involved with organ donation. It lets you know they are still in touch with the people."

    Nurse Adriene Gill in Student Health Services is closely familiar with the importance of being an organ donor. "My brother is the recipient of a pancreas and kidney transplant and African-Americans have the highest need for pancreas and kidney transplants," Gill said.

    LOPA has been working in conjunction with Student Health Services for over two years to promote Wellness Week and contribute to its success.

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    Local athletes, DU students join the cause to increase organ donation