LIFE MATTERS MEDIA STAFF
CHICAGO – Chicagoans from across the South Side and beyond will gather this weekend to take ownership of multiple aspects of their personal health, as well as the health of their community.
Natural Path Nutrition Inc. and the New Age of Chicago Project are hosting the second annual “New Age of Awareness” rally on Saturday, June 10 to empower South Siders to obtain vital health screenings, participate in advance care planning, and learn about the myths and realities of organ donation. Issues of community vitality will also be on the outdoor event’s main stage at King College Prep: voting, community service and violence prevention.
“It is important to support the entrepreneurial and socially conscious efforts of a group of dynamic young adults, as well as the health and wellness of our community and stopping the violence,” said assistant project coordinator Drake Materre.
Disparities in health and access to care are key motivations of the rally’s organizers. Gift of Hope organ and tissue donor network will be among the participating organizations. As African Americans suffer from higher rates of diabetes and hypertension, they comprise a patient population in the most pressing need for organ transplantation.
“We talk about supporting our community, supporting our black businesses, being there for our brothers and sisters, but we have to support each other in organ donation,” said Olivia Fox, a Gift of Hope community educator. “When we think about how many we bury, we can think about how much the need is. We can eliminate the need in our community if we say ‘yes’ to each other.”
Rally participants may explore the myths and realities of the history of organ donation in the United States. They will also learn how the organ procurement process has changed, to promote fairness and equity.
“There are so many who think organ donation is taboo, that there is a conspiracy to it,” said Lauren Materre, executive director of Natural Path Nutrition. “But faith and fear cannot coexist. We have to balance that thought with knowledge and the great need in the community.”
Life Matters Media will also be among the participating organizations, encouraging attendees to consider, communicate and document their end of life goals and values.
According to the Journal of Palliative Medicine, African Americans are less satisfied with the quality of their end of life care than patients of other races. They are more likely to report poor communication with doctors about their care choices, according the the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“There are so many essential conversations being started at the rally,” said LMM President Randi Belisomo. “Our conversation fits right in. If people take time to talk through what matters most at the end of life, they become role models of healthy behavior. They also raise expectations for their own care.”
Live music and entertainment, motivational speakers and free H.I.V./AIDS testing will be offered. Natural Path Nutrition is a local nonprofit committed to providing quality nutrition education.
The event takes place Saturday, June 10 at King College Prep, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd. from 11:30 to 2 p.m.