(New Providence, NJ) – Celebrated in August, National Minority Donor Awareness Month honors the generosity of multicultural organ and tissue donors and their families, while also underscoring the critical need for people from diverse communities to register as organ and tissue donors.
Locally in the Garden State, NJ Sharing Network, the federally designated non-profit organization responsible for recovering donated organs and tissue, is leading a wide variety of community awareness events and activities during National Minority Donor Awareness Month.
According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are waiting for a life-saving transplant, and 68% are people of color. Just one organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of over 75 people.
“Each year in New Jersey, thousands of lives are saved and enhanced through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Clearly, this is something to celebrate. However, there is an urgent need to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation to help save more lives in our diverse communities of New Jersey,” said Joe Roth, President and CEO NJ Sharing Network. “Although organs are not matched according to race and ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from multicultural communities.”
E. Denise Peoples, hospital and community services specialist, NJ Sharing Network, is a double-lung transplant recipient and a Newark resident who works throughout the year to promote NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission in local schools, faith-based organizations and community associations.
“We have all experienced how health issues such as hypertension, diabetes and kidney failure have impacted those around us – our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors. That is why there is a greater need than ever for transplants among our racial and ethnic minorities. We need the active support of our community members to help educate others and dispel any myths and misinformation about organ and tissue donation,” said Peoples.
During National Minority Donor Awareness Month, NJ Sharing Network’s website (www.NJSharingNetwork.org) and social media platforms will be continually updated with information on ways to participate in local activities and events. The website also features informative videos, flyers and social media messaging to share with others. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.
All are welcome to participate in the following free community activities:
August 2, 2022
National Night Out Events - Newark, Plainfield, Paterson, New Providence
August 5, 2022
Newark First Friday - Mulberry Commons Park, Newark, NJ
August 7 and 21
11:00am - 2:00pm
The Yard Jazz Brunch - Newark, NJ
August 11, 2022
11:00am - 3:00pm
Newark Farmers Market - Newark, NJ
August 13, 2022
Ubiquity Soul Music - Military Park, Newark, NJ
August 27, 2022
12:00pm - 4:00pm
Walgreens Information Tables at stores in Newark, Paterson, Somerset, Plainfield, Jersey City, East Orange, Elizabeth, Bayonne, Irvington, and Jersey City
Honoring the Memory of Jordan Herron of Jersey City and Diverse Organ Donor Heroes
NJ Sharing Network joins in the celebration of National Minority Donor Awareness Month by sharing inspirational stories of local organ and tissue donor heroes and their families who embody its life-saving mission, including the late Jordan Herron of Jersey City.
“Jordan’s legacy will live on forever. He exemplified the giving spirit that exists in our diverse communities throughout New Jersey,” said Joseph S. Roth, President and CEO of NJ Sharing Network. “Our NJ Sharing Network family celebrates and honors Jordan and all donor heroes for their selfless decision to save and enhance the lives of countless others who now have more holidays, birthdays and special moments to share with their loved ones.”
Jordan, 19, was a caring young man with a bright future. His selfless nature was often seen in how he helped care for his younger sister, Isabella, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and epilepsy. Jordan had big dreams of becoming a firefighter to follow in the brave footsteps of his uncle, Jersey City Fire Department Captain Bryan Tullock.
“From the time he was a little boy, Jordan always told me his goal in life was to help others in need,” said Tracey Tullock, Jordan’s mother. “He had a joyful smile and down-to-earth personality that everyone loved.”
On July 20, 2019, an unthinkable tragedy occurred as senseless street violence claimed Jordan’s life. According to many neighborhood parents who were nearby during the shooting spree, Jordan was a hero as he yelled to others to hide behind parked cars for safety.
“I loved him with all my heart, and our family has felt such an overwhelming loss,” said Tracey. “He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
A silver lining in this horrific story is that Jordan was a registered organ and tissue donor. His tissue donation has already enhanced the lives of 38 people from around the world. Jordan’s corneas were transplanted internationally, and his saphenous veins were transplanted in Alabama. His gifts of tendons, skin and bones are also helping others live healthier lives.
According to Tracey, she had spoken with Jordan about organ donation just two years before he passed away. “We had a conversation about being an organ donor while we were sitting at the MVC,” said Tracey. “He asked me if I checked the organ donor box, and I told him, ‘Absolutely because mommy wants to always help others – whatever I can give, I will give.’”
Tracey never knew if Jordan decided to check the box until she was notified by Natasha Rosa, Donation Resource Coordinator at NJ Sharing Network, while Jordan was in the hospital.
“I was so impressed and proud of Jordan,” said Tracey. “Natasha’s words helped ease my pain. Jordan knew it was the right thing to do, and I was honored and happy to follow his decision to give the gift of life to others. It was a humbling moment for me. As a parent, you often wonder if your children listen to you. Jordan showed me he was listening when he made the decision to register as a donor.”
Tracey and her family continue to keep Jordan’s memory alive. Each July, they continue to celebrate Jordan’s birthday with a barbecue. They also proudly wear bracelets and t-shirts they had made featuring blue and orange, Jordan’s favorite colors, and inscribed with “LL 23” to stand for “Long Live Jordan” with a tribute to Michael Jordan’s #23 jersey. Tracey also enjoys the weekends when she helps care for Jordan’s son, Kayden Jordan Herron, who was born just three months after Jordan passed away. “Isabella and I feel like Jordan is by our side, especially when Kayden is with us,” said Tracey. “It keeps our hearts going.”