Black History Month highlights crucial role of Diversity in blood program

February 23, 2010
February 5, 2010 -  The American Red Cross urges donors to make an appointment to give blood in February – Black History Month. “We continue to reach out to all of Connecticut’s communities to both grow and increase the diversity of our blood donor population,” said Paul Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross – Connecticut Blood Services Region. “In order to help ensure the availability of key blood types that are often represented in higher numbers in ethnic communities building a diverse blood donor population is crucial. When the blood donor population does not mirror the blood recipient population in terms of blood types, shortages of key blood types can occur.”

Type O is found in about 45% of the Caucasian population. However, type O can be found in approximately 56% of the Hispanic population and in over 50% of the African American population.   Moreover, maintaining a diverse blood supply helps to increase the number of rare blood donors whose specific match may be needed to help save a life.
In celebration of Black History Month, an oral presentation “History and Tides: The Amistad” will be presented by Sherwood C. Lewis, PhD, on Saturday February 6th at the Blood Center in Farmington between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the American Red Cross blood drive which runs from 6:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at the Blood Center, 209 Farmington Ave., Farmington.
In addition, the American Red Cross, in partnership with Community Health Services (CHS) continues to present “Community Threads,” an arts movement to create community quilts. The community quilts will be on display at the Red Cross in Farmington until the end of February in conjunction with Hartford Stage’s performance of Gee’s Bend.   Gee’s Bend is the true story of African American women who created sophisticated and distinctive quilts in an all black community in rural Alabama and “quilted” their way to economic freedom.
In February, each week from February 1st through February 28th, 2010, all presenting donors have the chance to win “free heat” at a $200 value. Two hundred dollars will be paid directly to the utility provider of the weekly winner. The prizes are not redeemable for cash and are non-transferable. Also, in February, the American Red Cross Connecticut Region is partnering with Ski Sundown. From February 1st to February 28th, all presenting donors will be automatically entered to win one of two Ski Sundown prize packages including a Ski Sundown Season Pass for the remaining 2010 ski season or the 2010-2011season with a $75 discount voucher to Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast, a charming Bed and Breakfast in New Hartford.
To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit

Contact: Elaine St. Peter