Hispanic Heritage Month highlights need for type O blood: Annual observance began September 15, runs through October 15

September 30, 2009
News Release
Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region
October 2009
Media Contact: Bridget Tuohey, 313-576-4184, cell 313-549-5414

Hispanic Americans have a special gift to give. As America’s largest growing ethnic group, about 60 percent of people of Hispanic descent have type O blood. And when you consider that type O is the blood hospitals need most, there’s more than enough reason to observe Hispanic Heritage Month by giving blood through the American Red Cross.
“By far, Hispanics are the single largest group of people with type O blood,” said Diane E. Ward, CEO  for the Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “That represents a tremendous opportunity for this group of individuals to play a significant role in building a safe and adequate blood supply for America.”
Hospitals use type O negative blood in most emergency trauma cases when there is not enough time to determine a patient’s blood type. And while type O negative can be safely transfused to anyone, type O positive blood can be transfused to patients with positive blood types—or about 80 percent of the population. While all blood types are needed, Red Cross officials say there is a continuing need for donations from type O donors.
“In fact, more than half of all blood supplied to hospitals is type O,” said Ward. “As our Hispanic population increases, so will the need for type O blood. We simply need more people of diverse backgrounds to become blood donors today.”
Blood type, like eye color, is an inherited trait. About 60 percent of the Hispanic population is type O, compared to 45 percent of Caucasians and 50 percent of African Americans. Hispanics currently make up 14 percent of the U.S. population at 42.7 million people.
To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit givelife.org  for more information. Individuals who are at least 17 years old, meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height), and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. Red Cross donor card or positive ID required.
About the American Red Cross
The Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region serves five counties, and needs to collect about 900 units of blood a day to meet patient need in 43 hospitals. In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts. 08/09AP906