The San Diego Blood Bank is saluting Hispanic Heritage Month and addressing an ongoing need in the Latino community by holding a Hispanic Blood and Bone Marrow Drive and Health Fiesta on Saturday, October 1, from 11 am to 5 pm, at the Chula Vista Center, 555 Broadway, Chula Vista. Three bloodmobiles will be parked in the circle driveway next to Sav-On, to accept blood donations and to offer free testing for potential donors to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).
Free health screenings and information will also be available from the San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network (SD-KHAN), MANA, and Community Health Group.
“Only about 12% of the blood bank’s donors are of Latino heritage, yet the Latino population of San Diego County has grown to 27%,” says Elvia Saucedo, San Diego Blood Bank board member. “At the same time, those who are Latino often have type “O” blood, which is the universal donor and the type that is in the greatest demand in our community.”
Since patients in need of marrow transplants have the greatest chance of finding a match with someone of the same ethnic background, potential donors who are Hispanic are also greatly needed for the NMDP registry.
“Ultimately, with more Latino donors, more Latino patients will be assured that blood will be available when needed and marrow matches are more possible,” says Saucedo.
Blood donors will enjoy refreshments from Carrow’s, and Cinnabon, entertainment, Padres memorabilia, a drawing for three $100 shopping sprees at Chula Vista Center, a Rubio’s taco card, a Burger King coupon for a free drink, a small bag of Starbucks ground coffee, a valuable coupon book from participating merchants and a special-edition T-shirt. The first 120 blood donors will also be awarded a movie pass for Ultra Star Cinemas.
Anyone who is at least 17 years old, in generally good health and weighs at least 110 pounds may qualify to donate blood. To join the NMDP registry, potential donors must be 18-60 and in good health. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-4MY-SDBB or visit www.sandiegobloodbank.org.