“The Power of 10: The Year of Testimonies” – Romans 8:38-39

This year marks the 10th year anniversary of the partnership between the Donor Network West and the annual San Francisco Citywide Revival, a celebration of faith and life that has had a profound effect on the lives of thousands in African American communities in and around the Bay Area since it began in 2005.

Church leaders and Pastors at the  San Francisco Citywide Revival

The idea to bring the messages of Faith and community health together at the annual Revival at Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church arose from the outreach and educational efforts of June R. Wallace about organ and tissue donation in and around Bayview/Hunter’s Point.

Michael Carraway (left – liver recipient) and Michael Bryce (right – heart and liver recipient)

At the beginning of this remarkable partnership, the topic of organ and tissue donation was shrouded in myths and misconceptions. Donation rates among people in the African American community were extremely low, further complicated by a profound lack of trust and education on the topic. Inspired to make a change in attitude towards organ and tissue donation, June began hosting a table alongside other health providers in the social hall of the church.

June Wallace (far right) with members of the San Francisco Links

The information about organ and tissue donation was not embraced at first. However, over time, acceptance grew thanks to June’s passion and her ability to show how health issues like diabetes, obesity and cardiac hypertension often lead to organ failure.  June also engaged pastors and ministers with messages that touched on overall health, which then led to discussions about organ failure and the need for transplants.

Volunteers providing education and answering questions.

Support for the cause also grew from the fact phentermine 30mg online that many in the congregation suffered from end-stage organ disease and were placed on the transplant waiting list – a fact that brought the message home through member’s testimonies. Another turning point came from the presentation of people who had received a transplant and, because of a stranger’s gift, were given another chance at life.

A major turning point came when Pastor Robert Lucas himself stepped up and registered as an organ and tissue donor, signaling acceptance from faith leaders that donation is truly one of the most noble acts of kindness, and something that all of us can – and should – do.

Pastor Robert Lucas signs up as an organ and tissue donor

In order to continue to bring an even stronger message of health and wellness to the 3,500 who attend each evening, June engaged the Black Nurses Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Kaiser Permanente, the San Francisco chapter of The Links, Inc., and the California Telephone Access Program. At this year’s Citywide Revival the National Kidney Foundation was on hand providing immediate and free kidney screenings to all.

Recipients and donor family members share their testimonies.

A lot has happened in 10 years. The waiting list showed that 90,526 people were waiting for a transplant in 2005. Today it is over 123, 231, and every 10 minutes, another name is added to the list. There is still much work to be done, but the cause of organ and tissue donation has at last found acceptance among many in the faith community, and it is through the power of testimonies that it will continue to open hearts and minds to giving the greatest gift of all – the Gift of Life.