Chicago organizations team up to address blood crisis in Black, Latino communities

Need for type O blood is high, which the majority of Black and Latino people have

ByJudy Hsu and Poinesha Barnes via WLS logo
Friday, September 16, 2022
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The 100 Black Men Blood Drive is running on Sunday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1900 W. Jackson Blvd. in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You could help save lives this weekend. There's a blood crisis in primarily Black and Latino communities. And now, four Chicago organizations are teaming to answer the call for help.

The question may never cross many of our minds: What happens if I need a blood transfusion?

"As an ER physician, I see a lot of different reasons for why people need blood," said Dr. Michael McGee, an ER doctor at Premier Urgent Care. "I've seen patients who come in from traumas, from car accidents, partial amputations from multiple types of accidents and of course, penetrating injuries such as gunshot wounds and stab wounds."

You or someone you love, may even need blood for something seemingly minor.

"In the middle of the night I developed nose bleed," blood recipient Ken Malone said. "Nose bleeds seem very, very simple. I think I lost, easily, two units of blood. And therefore I needed a transfusion."

That's why the civic organization 100 Black Men, is teaming up with the Divine Nine, the Black Nurses Association and the American Red Cross to host a blood drive this weekend. By donating, you could help people like Malone.

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"When you need a transfusion, whatever questions you have are gone," Malone said. "I know that from my experience. For me it was, how quickly can get this done?"

Both Dr. McGee and Malone say giving blood now could mean the difference between life or death for someone.

"We are all at risk for losing a family member or someone coming close to dying and if they don't have the adequate blood, to save their life," Malone said. "You will lose a family member or a close friend. We need all hands on deck."

The need for type O blood is high because it can be widely used, and doctors say the majority of Black and Latino people have type O Blood.

In fact O-negative is known as the "universal blood donor," which means anyone can receive it.

If you'd like to give blood this weekend, head over to Malcom X College. The 100 Black Men Blood Drive is running on Sunday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1900 W. Jackson Blvd. in Chicago.