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Weekend blood drive aims to educate minority communities on donating blood

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Posted at 3:05 PM, Jul 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-24 19:19:37-04

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Blood Assurance bloodmobile was on-site at Saturday's PENCIL Community Health Event in Antioch.

"It was my first time," blood donor Carla Sanchez said. "It feels really good afterwards, like you made a difference."

There's a major blood shortage across the country, affecting hospitals everywhere. Here in Middle Tennessee, there's a critical need for Type O-negative blood.

"O is one of the most beneficial blood because anyone can utilize it it's a universal," said Dr. Ted Kieffer, the Middle Tennessee medical director for Blood Assurance.

It's something that some minority groups can help with.

"The Hispanic population has a higher percentage of O individual in an ethnic group than Caucasians, " Dr. Kieffer said. "So the more of those ethnic groups that come in, the more we can use their blood for a community as a whole."

Only 7% of Blood Assurance donations have come from people in minority communities.

"There's a number of reasons people don't give blood but aside from something like work, they don't necessarily like names of registries," Dr. Kieffer said. "But the info we collect will only be used for blood supplies and so we can communicate with them if there's any issues with their blood."

The blood they collect does stay local, with one donation saving up to three lives.

If you want to donate blood, you can click here for more information.

To be eligible to donate, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health.