Sleeves Up Campaign encourages blood donations from all ethnicities

blood donation
Posted at 12:01 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 17:24:57-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The American Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis, the country’s worst in over a decade.

The American Red Cross teamed up with the Idaho Black History Museum in their Sleeves Up Campaign, which calls attention to the importance of blood donors from all ethnicities.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a decline in blood donations, as blood drives were canceled. Now, local hospitals are feeling the impact of dwindling supply.

“We are doing everything we can. We are implementing methods to ration blood products, reviewing any elective type work that might require blood products that we need to postpone. The public can help by donating blood,” said Dr. Jim Souza, St. Luke’s Chief Physician Executive.

According to the American Red Cross, around half of African Americans have type O positive blood, which is the most transfused blood type in the U.S. and one of the first types to run out during a shortage.

O positive donors of all ethnicities are needed.

Around 45% of people in the U.S. are type O blood, with a higher percentage among Hispanics and African Americans. 51% of African-Americans and 57% of Hispanics have type O blood.

“We need a wide variety of donors of a wide variety of ethnic groups to re-mediate a problem that’s going to affect everyone. And so we’ve got to do our part to educate and encourage people to get involved,” said Phillip Thompson, executive director and board president of the Idaho Black History Museum.

Donors and recipients that share the same ethnicity and have compatible blood types are more likely to lead to better outcomes.

Do find out how to donate, visit the American Red Cross’s website.