August is National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month, a collaborative initiative to save and improve the quality of life of diverse communities by creating a positive culture for organ, eye and tissue donation.
Midwest Transplant Network will recognize and support National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month with a series of original content featuring community partners, staff and volunteer Ambassadors who represent diversity and the mission to give hope and share life. We hope you enjoy the perspectives of our friends!
MTN Staff Spotlight…
Britney Machin, Tissue Services Shift Leader
Britney’s professional career in healthcare includes experience as a community liaison in a clinical setting. She earned a Bachelor of Science in community health with a minor in psychology from the University of Central Missouri. She will complete a master’s in business administration with an emphasis in health administration from her alma mater in May 2024. Britney joined Midwest Transplant Network in September 2020 and is coming up on her third MTN anniversary.
If you had to choose between living without air conditioning or social media, which one would you give up?
I would give up social media.
Favorite local restaurants in the metro?
Garozzo’s, Vietnam Café and Q39.
Your most memorable trip experience — good or bad?
I’m from a blended family, and I’m one of four children. When I was 10, we went to California with all of my siblings and family. We visited my maternal grandparents, went to my aunt’s 50th wedding anniversary, went to the beach, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Disneyland and Magic Mountain. We packed a lot into a week!
You’re talking about your job to a stranger. How do you explain what you do for a living as simply as possible?
Hmmm…I can tell someone I recover skin from donor heroes to help burn victims. Or I recover bone, skin, tissue or muscle from donor heroes to help other people live.
Tell us about your culture and how it influences your conversations about organ donation.
My culture is Chamorro. My mother is from Guam, the largest of the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Chamorro culture is having respect for all people, particularly for our elders, as well as our history and language.
The way I was raised influences how I speak about organ, eye and tissue donation. It’s respect for the donor families because you’re working on their behalf.
My brother-in-law is a kidney transplant recipient of 10 years, and I have an uncle who had multiple kidney transplants. He was nearly 60 when he passed.
Growing up, I heard misconceptions about organ, eye and tissue donation, like EMS and doctors won’t try as hard if organ donation is on your driver’s license. It’s totally false.
In my family, there is support for being an organ, eye and tissue donor. And in my family — due to it directly saving and enhancing so many of our loved ones’ lives — they want to make the decision on their own. If I’m asked about organ donation, I do my best to explain the process and address any misconceptions that I can.
Even though my family is open to organ donation, it’s different when it comes to ocular tissues because when a loved one passes, they need to be able to see their way to heaven. There’s a belief about being whole in heaven and in the afterlife, so organ, eye and tissue donation is personal.
In what ways do you advocate for organ donation?
The work is a form of advocacy for donation. When a loved one passes, you want to be respectful of their decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.
Give three reasons why someone should consider becoming a registered organ donor:
- Your legacy lives on through another person, and the impact on another life is honorable.
- It helps with healing for loved ones because they gave selflessly, and you can be proud of their decision.
- It’s very important to tell your family of your decision to be an organ donor. It’s an affirmation of your choice, and your family will not have to make that decision for you.
What else would you like to say about organ donation?
To the donor heroes, “Si Yu’os Ma’ase,” which means thank you or “May God’s grace shine upon you” in Chamorro.