Today’s guest blog comes to us from Donor Network of Arizona. More than 3-million Arizonans are registered organ donors and the significance of donating cannot be overstated. Donor Network of Arizona is one of our partners and a healthcare member of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA).
Donor Network of Arizona is part of a larger national campaign called Donate Life America which has created the Donate Life ECHO (Every Community Has Opportunity) campaign. It runs during the second and third weeks of July (July 9-22nd) every year and focuses on the importance of donation and transplantation in multicultural communities.
Twenty-year-old Celeste Machiche understood the power of donation when she registered as an organ and tissue donor, but no one could have known just how large an impact her decision would make.
“Celeste believed in the good of people, in generosity, in motivating others and in listening with a gentle and non-judgmental spirit,” says her only sibling, Michelle Montijo. “She freely shared her infectious smile, positive attitude and gave the best of herself always.”
In May 2012, Machiche passed away from injuries after a car accident. After death, she gave a second chance at life to four other people who were desperately waiting for a transplant.
Michelle Montijo (r) remembers Celeste Machiche (pictured) with her family. Her sister always loved wearing red chucks and spreading her happiness freely.
Currently there are more than 2,300 people in Arizona on the national organ transplant waiting list. Of those waiting in Arizona, more than 59 percent are minorities, a number that is reflected across the board nationally, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.
From July 9 to July 22, we celebrate the fact that everyone has the opportunity to save lives through organ and tissue donation. The Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation partnered with Donate Life America in 2015 to create Donate Life ECHO, which stands for Every Community Has Opportunity. Donation gives every community the chance to make a difference, and some even watch the gift of life come full circle.
For the Machiche family, it was just 20 years earlier when Machiche’s grandfather received a kidney from a young man who had also passed away in a vehicle crash. Her family believes that Machiche took that act of generosity to heart when she registered as a donor at the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division.
“I am proud to say Celeste’s preparation and mature choice has helped in our journey of grief. Celeste’s decision minimized our guilt and fear, and we didn’t have to question if donation was the right choice,” says Montijo.
Michelle Montijo and her daughter, Mia (l), and Pablo and Mary Machiche (r) celebrate Celeste’s memory.
These two weeks of Donate Life ECHO bring attention to the current health needs of multicultural communities and help encourage registrations and education to end the waiting list.
Join Donate Life Arizona and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) on July 18 from 10 to 11 a.m. MST for a Twitter chat all about Donate Life ECHO. Give hope to families like Machiches by linking your community to the conversation and registering to be an organ and tissue donor.
“In spite of our indescribable heartache, we were able to grasp onto hope, something we so desperately needed at a time when we felt like all hope was lost,” says Montijo. “One of the greatest fears of a grieving family is that their loved one will be forgotten, and that their name will no longer be said. In knowing she gave life to others, Celeste’s name and love lives on.”