Marvin Gaye III, Son of Soul Icon, Campaigns for Kidney Transplant

Image: Marvin Gaye III, Son of Soul Icon, Campaigns for Kidney Transplant

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 10:28 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Marvin Gaye III, the son of the late soul icon Marvin Gaye, is in need of a kidney transplant.

Gaye's been receiving dialysis for renal failure for three years, during which time he has been unsuccessful in finding a suitable kidney for transplant.

The 46-year-old, who is also a singer, recently made the public announcement about his condition in order to bring attention to the challenges blacks and Hispanics face in finding healthy organ donors, he said, the Associated Press reported.

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In addition to the personal announcement, Gaye also says he plans to donate a percentage of his proceeds from his upcoming album to a kidney research organization.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, "minorities make up more than half of organ donation waiting lists [at 56 percent], yet they comprise less than half, [34 percent], of organ transplants performed.

In comparison, 66 percent of the transplants performed are done on white patients, who make up 44 percent of those on organ donor waiting lists.

There are two primary reasons for the disparity between the races.

First, there is "a lower rate of consent to organ donations among minority populations," and second, minorities "also may have less access to quality health services," the Office of Minority Health (OMH) states.

Despite being just 13 percent of the population overall, blacks account for more than half the 56 percent of minorities on the donor list, with nearly one in three U.S. citizens waiting for an organ donation being African American, the OMH reported.

A reason why there are so many more, percentage wise, blacks than whites in need of organ transplants, is because of the high rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes among people of color, the OMH notes.

The majority of transplants involve kidney and heart transplants.

While organs can be matched and transplanted across racial lines, success rates increase when the donor and recipient are of the same race, North Carolina's Donate Life writes. Consequently it is preferred to match someone on a waiting list with a donor of the same race.

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Renal failure can prove fatal if the patient does not receive a donor within a few years. In the case of Marvin Gaye III, he has been in search of the kidney donor for three years.

Related stories:

Transplant Network: 'Redistricting' Makes Organ Allocation Fairer

Woman Who Had Five Organ Transplants Gives Birth

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