I Care: She fights organ donor shortage with a smile

August 27, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I Care: The Courage to Speak, and Smile, for a Cause

“A fighter like you.  Someone could benefit from your heart,” Kyla Aquino tells an African American man stopping by the organ registry booth at a heath fair in Oak Park.  Her charm disarms him and he changes his “no” to a “maybe.”

Aquino, 33, a volunteer with Donate Life California, is a two-time kidney transplant recipient who has raised awareness about organ donations since she was 17.  Her enormous smile melts hearts and breaks down barriers.  Death is a difficult subject to talk about with strangers, she says, but she does is with grace.  She makes a special effort to reach out to minorities where the need for organ donors is greatest.

“I have the courage to speak,” Aquino says.  “If I have the talents to convey the message, I’ve got to do my darndest.” 


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