Heroes and Heroines for Hope: You can be a hero, too

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsBy: Blanca Flores

On Friday, Aug. 9th, the President and CEO of Gift of Hope Kevin Cmunt along with Raiza Mendoza, the Hispanic Public Relations and Community Outreach director gathered at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture to finish off National Minority Donor Awareness Week differently. Various community leaders were awarded for helping improve and save lives of people in our communities.

Among these Heroes for Hope were Dr. Juan Carlos Caicedo, Director of the Hispanic Transplant Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Sergeant Juan Clas from the Chicago Police Department CAPS 12th District; Reverend Claudio Diaz Jr., Pastor at Mision San Juan Diego; Belitza Contreras, Lawyer and Domestic Violence Professional; Israel Dominguez, US Marine Veteran Corporal; Martha Escamilla, Northwestern Hospital Transplant Social Worker; Dr. Raquel Garcia-Roca, Transplant surgeon at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. Josephine Navarro, Police Department CAPS Implementation-Domestic Violence Program Training Technician, Jose Santiago, Chicago Fire Department Commissioner.

At the awards ceremony, two families received an award, a donation flag, for having their loved one donate organs after they passed away. Cetila Portugal, mother of Luis Angel Perez (an organ donor), talked about her son’s unfortunate life choice of joining a gang. “After being criticized for my son’s lifestyle, my son saved six lives and I became the mother of a hero instead of the mom of a gangbanger. Salvador Arias, Father of Brianna Arias, also received an award for the way her daughter saved many lives.
Lorenzo Arroyo, Brother of Elfego Arroyo (recipient of a liver transplant) spoke about the importance of having a second chance to live.

“Over 20,000 Latinos are on a waiting list for an organ. Every day 18 people that need an organ die,” stated Raiza and invited everyone to join the new “Heroes and Heroines” campaign to help support organ and tissue donation.

Comments are closed.