Latinos donate their universal blood during Hispanic Heritage Month

September 18, 2017
Hispanic Heritage Month runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Latinos have the highest percentage of universal blood types compared to all other ethnic groups. During National Hispanic Heritage month, Latinos in central Ohio are sharing that universal blood type to celebrate their heritage and support the community. 
The community is invited to a special Hispanic Heritage Month American Red Cross Blood Drive with the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission, Hispanic Chamber of Columbus and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The drive will be held during National Hispanic Heritage Month Saturday Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy, 3940 Karl Road, Columbus, OH 43224. Spanish translators will be available.
Type O blood is known to be the most universal. O negative is completely universal and can be transfused to a patient with any blood type. O positive can be given safely to about 84 percent of the population. Type O blood is especially important in emergency situations when hospitals don’t have time to type a patient before beginning medical treatment. While about 45 percent of the total population carry type O blood, nearly 60 percent of Latinos are either O positive or O negative. No other ethnic group has a higher percentage of this vital blood type than the Hispanic community.
“Because the Hispanic community has a higher occurrence of the most needed blood type, they have a special gift to give,” said Rodney Wilson, communications manager for the Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region.
Type O blood helps save countless lives in Central Ohio each year, including the life of Ohio teen Amanda Riski who was seriously injured in an ATV four-wheeler accident in 2015. Amanda needed type O blood during her treatments after being rushed to the hospital. Type O blood donors helped save her life.
The Red Cross, along with the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission, Hispanic Chamber of Columbus, LULAC, CAPA, The Franklin County Coroner and The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office encourages the Latino community to give their special blood type, and for individuals of all ethnic backgrounds to give with them during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“During a month dedicated to celebrating the heritage of Latinos, we want to give back to the community and give in a way only Latinos can,” said Henry Guzman, Principal for HG Consulting Associates and Red Cross volunteer board member. “We want to see more Latinos across Ohio and across the nation giving blood and more Latino organizations and groups hosting blood drives as we celebrate our heritage. The whole community is needed and welcome to join us in this effort.”
“In this time of need after the disasters in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria and the devastating earthquake in Mexico, this is where the community can start giving back and show by example by donating,” said Lair Marin-Marcum, Community Liaison for Ohio Latino Affairs Commission.
Blood can carry markers that are specific to ethnic background. In order to find the best match for every patient, donors of all ethnic backgrounds are needed to give on a regular basis. For more on blood and diversity, visit
Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals nationwide.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.