3rd Annual Transplant Awareness Day in Honor of Ivan K. Harrell
Sunday, September 29 at Union Baptist Church
Ivan Harrell doesn’t strike you as the sort of ‘fella’ who needs anything from anyone. In fact, the tall spectacled former high school tennis champ exudes so much confidence you’d never know he suffers from eight chronic health conditions - any of which could kill him. Still, despite having to endure numerous medical procedures, the deaths of both his father and brother, and assisting with the care of his ailing mother, Harrell seems almost nonchalant about his latest challenge, finding a heart.
On Sunday September 29, the Durham community and friends are invited to attend the 3rd Annual Transplant Awareness Day at Union Baptist Church located at 904 N. Roxboro Street. The event will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will include the inspirational sounds of 100 Men in Black Choir, donor and recipient testimonials, speakers and more. Collaborating agencies include the National Foundation for Transplants, UNC-Chapel Hill Hospital, Carolina Donor Services, Union Baptist Church, White Rock Baptist Church and U.S.A Luxury Tours.
“Watching my father lose his battle with cancer, and my mother suffer a stroke a short time later was very difficult. I learned a lot about myself, but it was John’s death that really made me realize how precious the gift of life is,” said Harrell. John, a computer consultant and former Duke University Basketball player died in Fairfax, Virginia in 2008 after suffering an abdominal aneurysm. “When I think about the fact
that I’m still here despite the health issues that I have, I know God is using me to fulfill a purpose.
In 1993, Ivan was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia and high blood pressure. Doctors implanted a defibrillator that puts his heart back into sinus rhythm. Ivan has since been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation and a blood clot. He also has 50% blockage of his main artery. Doctors say a heart transplant is critical to his survival.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans make up the largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant. The number of organ transplants performed on Black Americans in 2009 was less than one fifth, or 20%, of the number of Black Americans currently waiting for a transplant. The number of transplants performed on White Americans was 35% of the number currently waiting. While 29% of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are Black American, they comprised 14% of organ donors in 2009. Black Americans have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure than White Americans. These conditions are known to put the patient at risk for organ failures.
Despite the challenges, Ivan remains optimistic and looks forward to resuming his normal life after receiving his transplant. He is a certified tennis teaching professional and one of Ivan’s greatest joys in life is nurturing and developing children and young adults into tennis players. His goal is to one day open a residential tennis academy for disadvantaged youth in his community.
For more information about Transplant Awareness Day at Union Baptist Church, contact Kelvin D. Allen at (919) 824-9873 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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A Kelvin Allen & Associates/Strategic Media Solutions Group Publication
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