"A fighter like you. Someone could benefit from your heart," Kyla Aquino tells an African American man stopping by her organ-registry booth at a health fair in Oak Park. Her charm disarms him and he changes his "no" to joining an organ donor list 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. Talking about death, she says, can be difficult to do with strangers, but Aquino does it with grace. She makes a special effort to reach out to minorities, for whom the need for organ donors is greatest.
"I have the courage to speak," Aquino said. "If I have the talent to convey the message, I've got to do my darndest."
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