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WVSU dance event to encourage, educate about organ donation

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you're interested in organ donation and dance, an event at West Virginia State University on Monday has what you're looking for.

The West Virginia Taskforce for the Center for Organ Recovery and Education is teaming up with West Virginia State University to bring in Step Afrika!, an internationally known dance troupe.

As a part of the event, members of the local group will present a short video about organ donation and give people an opportunity to sign up to become a donor.

"I had a kidney transplant in August of 2007," said Yvonne Moore, chairwoman of the CORE task force. "It's why I'm alive today."

Moore said her group aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding organ donation -- myths such as, if doctors know you're an organ donor they won't try to save you, and if you donate your organs your family cannot have an open-casket funeral for you.

Neither is true, she said.

"Many people think, 'I'm too old, I'm too old,'" Moore said. "That's not true, but you do have to be over 18."

People younger than 18 must have permission from a parent, she said.

The task force also aims to persuade more people to become organ donors. Around 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for organs or tissues.

The group especially wants to encourage ethnic minorities to become donors, she said. That's because, nationally, more people in ethnic communities receive organs than give them, she said.

"It's a matter of education and dispelling the many myths around organ donation," Moore said.

Organ donation is something that most people don't think about until it affects them or their family members, she said.

When a person is near death in a hospital, their family members may not be in the best state of mind to make a decision about organ donation, Moore said.

"[That] is a very stressful time, and families are not in a good state to make the decision," Moore said. "This way, you're making your own decision."

CORE is teaming up with churches around the country this month for Donor Sabbath, which takes place Nov. 15-17. The churches will have bulletin inserts with an emphasis on organ donation. All major religions allow organ donation, she said.

Another common wrong assumption is that the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses does not allow for organ donation, she said. The church teaches against blood transfusion but not organ donation, she said.

People who wish to sign up to be an organ donor will be asked for their driver's license number, their birth date and the last four digits of their Social Security number, she said.

The Step Afrika! performance is free for students and faculty with an ID and $10 for the general public.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of Ferrell Hall. For information, call the WVSU Office of Student Activities at 304-766-3288.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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