Peoria girls’ basketball team to host Red Cross blood drive to commemorate Black History Month

February 18, 2013

PEORIA, Ill. (Feb. 18, 2013) – Hospital patients of all ethnic and racial backgrounds require blood product transfusions every day. Because of that, it’s important that blood donors are as diverse as the patients who need their help

In commemoration of February as Black History Month, the American Red Cross and the Peoria Journey to Empowerment through Motivation and Self-Esteem (JEMS) girls’ basketball team will host a blood drive on Feb. 23 to help encourage a diverse and stable blood supply.

“One of the goals of JEMS is to learn the importance of community involvement and to seek ways to play an integral role in the lives of others,” said Jonelle McCloud, JEMS president and founder. “Our blood drive during Black History Month is a way for the team to develop organization and teamwork skills, all while helping ensure patients of all backgrounds have the lifesaving blood they need.”


JEMS Girls’ Basketball Blood Drive

Saturday, Feb. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Proctor Recreation Center

309 S. DuSable St. in Peoria


All patients are matched by blood type prior to transfusion. Certain blood types are more common in some ethnic groups than others. For instance, about 70 percent of African Americans have type O or B blood, the types that are typically the first to run out during a shortage. Additionally, 98 percent of all sickle cell disease occurs in people of African descent. Since the disease is often managed through regular blood transfusions, African-American blood donors can provide blood that is a closer match for patients with sickle cell.

For some patients, additional red cell markers in donated blood also have to be matched. These markers are determined by ethnicity and are best found in a diverse donor base.

The Proctor Recreation Center is celebrating 100 years in the community and the JEMS girls’ basketball team has a goal to collect 100 pints of lifesaving blood for 100 years.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.

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 join our blog at

About JEMS

Established in 2006, the Journey to Empowerment through Motivation and Self-Esteem (JEMS) program motivates youth to actively engage in the positive aspects of team sports. By empowering them with the skills and knowledge to develop and grow as individuals, JEMS will strengthen their abilities and build their awareness of self and community. JEMS enjoys a long standing relationship with area community centers and schools. Because of this relationship, JEMS is able to offer affordable basketball opportunities to a wide variety of youth ages 8-14. Our goal and mission is to teach the fundamentals of basketball while developing strong, confident young ladies. Team members will learn the importance of community involvement by participating in service hours and speakers will come in to add the motivation they need to achieve their basketball goals. For more information, please visit