Blood Donation presserMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and State Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin) joined the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers at a press conference to promote blood donation during Minority Health Month.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designates April as Minority Health Month to draw attention to health-related disparities that affect minorities.

“It’s very important that we educate the Latino community about the importance of becoming blood donors,” said Martinez, who is co-chairwoman of the Latino Caucus. “The majority of Latinos have type O blood, which is in high demand because it can be transfused to patients with other blood types.”

Latinos are the largest minority group, but make up less than 4 percent of blood donors. Additionally, Latinos only make up 10 percent of people on the National Bone Marrow Registry. African Americans also have low blood donation and Bone Marrow Registry participation rates.

“In my own district, nearly 40 percent of people are of Latino and African American descent,” said Noland. “It is imperative that we raise awareness in these communities for donating blood and bone marrow. This is not just a one-time issue; it is an everyday concern and one that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.”

It is estimated that one blood donation can save up to three lives. For contact information for community blood centers, please click here.


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