Brittany Crawford, a native of San Francisco, was killed in a fatal car accident on April 1, 2012. The 20-year-old had accomplished many of her wishes, from meeting the first Black elected to lead San Francisco, Mayor Willie L. Brown, at the age of 8 to working as an intern at KMEL 106.1-FM to being a greeter for the San Francisco Red and White Fleet.
Upon her passing, Brittany’s organs were donated, and her generous gifts saved the lives of four people. Her parents, Keith and Lenore Crawford, were led to start a foundation, “Give Life, Save Life,” a non-profit organization. The foundation will focus on education and awareness of organ procurement and creating a database of African American donors.
Minority populations are disadvantaged in organ transplantation in several ways. Three key factors prevent African Americans from receiving kidneys at rates equal to whites. First, African Americans exhibit higher rates of diseases that cause kidney failure, like hypertension and diabetes. Five percent of people on wait lists died in 2008 and, more specifically, 4.6 percent of people on kidney wait lists perished. Second, the African-American population has a high prevalence of type B blood, which is more rare in the general population (and a problem because blood type matching is necessary for a successful transplant). Third, race-linked poverty and socioeconomic issues make it much harder to navigate the organ transplant system.
The foundation will hold workshops, screenings and scholarships in the African-American community.
The launch date for the foundation will be on Sept. 15, 2012, which would have been Brittany’s 21st birthday.