Bronx SVU detective saving lives on the job and through organ donation

Det. Anita Moore and her father Cortez, who she donated a portion of her liver to.
Courtesy of Anita Moore

For 16 years Detective Anita Moore has dedicated her life to law enforcement and served the Bronx. Working in the Special Victims Unit, she deals with high profile cases on a daily basis.

But Moore is only still on the job because she was the recipient of an organ donation.

Over 10 years ago, the detective received the shocking news that she had a rare genetic condition threatening her eyesight. Moore’s only hope for avoiding blindness was for her to receive a cornea transplant. Of those from the Bronx on the organ donor waiting list, 93% are people of color, highlighting the disparities in those communities.

Thankfully, Moore, 38, a lifelong Soundview resident, underwent a procedure at Montefiore in July 2011 from a cadaver. With only a quarter of people in the Bronx registered as organ donors, compared to the state average of 43%, Moore was fortunate to receive her cornea transplant.

“It’s (organ donation) an opportunity to make a life changing decision to impact yourself and someone else,” she explained.

However, a year after her transplant, Moore learned that her father, Cortez, 70, was in desperate need of a liver transplant. After contracting Hepatitis C during his time serving in the Vietnam War, it later manifested into liver cancer threatening his life. Cortez spent eight years on the waiting list until his daughter came to the rescue.

Knowing how powerful organ donation is, she offered to give a portion of her liver to save her father’s life. Fortunately, the father-daughter duo was a match and Moore became an organ recipient-turned-donor for her father. Returning to Montefiore seven months after her procedure, Moore donated 60% of her right liver lobe to her father, giving Cortez a new lease on life.

She recalled that she was a bit nervous before donating, but is glad she did. Today her father is in good spirits and healthy.

“The surgery for my father was not that popular,” she stated. “I was scared.”

Today, the detective proudly tells her story whenever she get a chance and hopes more people in the Bronx sign up to be organ donors.

Moore also works closely with LiveOnNY, the official organ procurement organization for the greater NY region, to raise awareness on the issue communities of color face when it comes to organ donation. With nearly 10,000 New Yorkers on the transplant waiting list, it is more important now than ever for the lifesaving gift of organ donation.

“People usually don’t consider participating until it hits home,” she commented. “I can understand people being wary about it. You don’t know what your quality of life will be after, it is rewarding. You’re giving somebody the chance to live again.”

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