Latino Legislators Call for Increase Latino Blood Donations

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

With this month being Hispanic Heritage Month and Blood Cancer Awareness Month, Chicago Aldermen kicked-off the “Dona Sangre, Salva 3 Vidas,” campaign at City Hall Tuesday morning in an effort to promote blood donation among the Latino population. “As Chairman of both the Latino Caucus and the Committee on Health and Environment, I feel I have a duty to work with my fellow Council members to raise awareness of the powerful contribution the Latino community can make to patients in need through blood donation. One of the top reasons people have for not donating blood is because they have not been asked…today I am asking: ‘Dona Sangre, Salva 3 Vidas’’ said 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas.

Although Latinos make-up the largest minority of the US population at 17 percent (24 percent in Chicago), they make up less than 4 percent of blood donors. According to the IL Coalition of Community Blood Centers (ICCBC), nearly 60 percent of Latinos have type O blood, the universal blood type. “Latino blood contains certain antibodies, unique to the Latino population, which are critical when an exact antigen match is required for Latinos in need of a transfusion,” said Margaret Vaughn, Government Affairs director of ICCBC. Vaughn explained that type O positive blood is especially valuable. “It is the most common blood type, which means it’s most in demand, but if you have a type O blood, only a type O transfusion will work for you. However, people with other blood types can receive type O blood.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

“With the rising Latino population in the City of Chicago, the mindset needs to change that we just can’t wait until there is a loved one in need of blood or an emergency to donate. Blood is needed every 2 seconds and only has a shelf life of 42 days. We have to become regular blood donors so that a constant supply can be tested, maintained and ready to go at all times by our City’s hospitals,” said 36rd Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas. If you are interested in donating blood or learning more about the “Dona Sangre, Salva 3 Vidas,” campaign, visit or visit

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