More Hispanic, Diverse Blood Donations Needed Amid Texas Shortage

HOUSTON (KIAH) – Like blood the shortage continues in Texas, The Gulf Regional Blood Center is urging the Hispanic community to donate. The organization says the Hispanic community is critical to helping build a diverse blood supply.

“Our donors are just not represented in terms of diversity, and we really need our Hispanic donors to step up and really participate in donating,” said Sarah Goodman, manager of donor recruitment at the Blood Center.

Goodman reports that about 60% of their donors are Caucasian and only 20% are Hispanic.

Houston has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the nation. More than 2.7 million Hispanics call Houston home according to Great partnership in Houston.

The American Red Cross found that almost 60% of the Hispanic population has the universal O blood type, which hospitals most often require to treat a range of patients, from trauma victims to premature babies.

Having a diverse blood supply is even more important because patients are more likely to find a blood match among donors who share the same demographics.

6-year-old Ezra Chavez still relies on blood donations for his treatment. At just 3 years old, Ezra was diagnosed with pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia and underwent chemotherapy to treat his disease. Ezra has had two blood transfusions since starting treatment in 2019 and is hoping to ring the bell soon and be cancer free. Blood donors keep this loving, caring and spontaneous boy smiling.

“Make sure we’re diversifying our blood supply to make sure they have that special antigen that maybe someone who’s not from their background won’t have.” And it’s really important to be able to provide any kind of blood to our patients because they’re going to need it one way or another,” Goodman said.

The blood center said they need about 1,000 units each day to maintain supplies in the Houston area. They are currently below this daily target level. They note that many people don’t realize that blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, so they need repeat donors.

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