Celebrating Black History Month

February 1, 2024

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Jackie Robinson

Sierra Donor Services celebrates Black History Month by sharing the personal stories of recipients, and donation champions and highlighting the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Black Americans make up approximately 12.2 percent of the population, and 28% of the national organ transplant waiting list. Black Americans make up the largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant. More than 31,000 Black Americans are waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

Help end the waitlist today and register as an organ, eye and tissue donor at

Sierra Donor Services Surgical Director Beau Kelly, MD works tirelessly to make donation and transplantation possible and asks the Black community to consider the impact they can have as registered donors.

“I encourage you to have conversations with your coworkers and employers regarding your thoughts on the end of life and organ donation. Take five minutes and educate yourself. Ask questions.”

Emmitt, who is waiting for a kidney transplant, created Male Lupus Warriors Corp. to raise awareness for Lupus and mental health.

He continues his advocacy while undergoing home dialysis as he waits for a lifesaving transplant.

Lorin is a two-time kidney transplant recipient, having received her first kidney as a teenager from her father and her second kidney from a living donor in 2003.

We are beyond grateful to have her as an active #DonateLife Ambassador, encouraging organ, eye and tissue donation in Sacramento and Placer counties!

When Roysean was only 2 years old, he received a lifesaving heart transplant.

Nine years later, his heart is healthier than ever, and he is living life to the fullest thanks to the selflessness of his donor hero!

The Capitol City Black Nurses Association’s passionate commitment to promoting organ, eye and tissue donation within the community is a testament to the transformative impact of compassion and education.

Their advocacy serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path to a future where every individual has the opportunity for a brighter, healthier tomorrow!

Rhonda Smith is the Executive Director of the California Black Health Network, a nonprofit that works to advance health equity for Black Californians, and a donation champion.

She recognizes the health disparities that exist in organ donation and transplantation and how we can work together to close that gap.

“People of color account for about 60% of the donor waitlist in the United States and 79% in California.”

Read more about Rhonda’s insights on our blog at

As a faith leader, Chaplain Sherman Baker encourages the Black community to help end the wait for lifesaving transplants.

“On average, African American transplant candidates wait longer than non-Black transplant candidates for kidney, heart and lung transplants.”

A beloved daughter, Rajeanique was 23 years old when she became a donor hero and selflessly gave the gift of life. 

Through her bone and tissue donation, Rajeanique’s legacy continues on in the lives she saved with her generosity.

About Sierra Donor Services

Sierra Donor Services (SDS) serves nearly three million people in Northern California and Northern Nevada. We are an exceptional team of professionals dedicated to saving and improving lives by connecting organ and tissue donation to the patients who need them. We strive to extend the reach of each generous donor’s gift to those who are always profoundly grateful for them.

#BeTheGift that saves lives!

When you register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, you leave a lasting legacy and bring hope to those waiting.

To access the National Registry, click here.