Words about organ donation from SODA's Communications Intern: Osa Diawara
Written by Osa Diawara, Communications Intern
I think we can admit that almost all of life moves at extraordinary speeds. We often miss out on the greatest moments, especially when we take the simple things about people for granted: hugs, smiles, laughter. We never stop to fully appreciate the warmth another human brings into our lives, and it is true we miss it dearly when it is gone.
I rarely give too much thought about the culture I grew up in, mainly because it is like second nature at this point. Growing up African American, there were many values I learned that were specific to our community, things I would not have learned anywhere else. I learned how to stand up and protect myself from harm's way at an early age, which, admittingly, has helped against some of my toughest experiences. I developed a sense of hardness, one I would best describe as a wall to save myself from great deals of agony.
So when my grandmother passed away when I was at the tender age of 8, I did not cry too much about it. I learned to be at peace with her no longer being here with me, and I learned it fast. When I think about the passing of my grandmother, I do not recall anyone even beginning to think about organ donation, including myself. I have a burning desire to understand why my family did not explore this option, or if they even knew it was available to them.
I could almost say that the race I identify with had little to no correlation to the things I learned as a child, but that would be very untrue. The systems in place for my community has shaped me into the person I am and has taught me the things that I know about navigating the world. I do the best with what I know, despite all of the things I have yet to experience and gain more wisdom on.
Organ donation is a foreign subject in my community. It took me joining SODA to realize that it is not the topic of any of our conversations, whether it be at home or in school. It isn’t shown on any television program, nor is it found in any textbook that I have come across. I have spent a number of years without being exposed to the world of organ donation. I wish I could speak on exactly why organ donation was not at the center of my conversations. But as a start, I’d like to think it is because of what is and isn’t accessible to my community as a whole.
Taking on the opportunity to be a part of an organization in which its purpose is rarely discussed where I am from has been like a breath of fresh air. I am learning tons about a cause that helps many across the world.
When I think about organ donation, I think of a beautiful opportunity for someone to give and for someone to receive. I am glad that I have decided to take a stand for something that is not common for someone like me, and I hope to make a difference within my community and push the mission of organ donation forward.