22nd edition of Black History Month - Encouraging results : the contribution of Black communities to the blood supply remains a major challenge

Montréal, January 31, 2013 – Black History Month is a time for Héma-Québec to remind people about the vital contribution of the Black communities to the collective blood supply and to stress the importance of increasing its diversity. The efforts put forth since 2009 to promote the cause of blood donation in these communities are paying off. More than 1,700 donors have answered the call so far, a 71% jump from last year.

Despite these positive results, the contribution of Black communities remains a major challenge since they still represent less than 1% of total active donors in the province. While, in terms of blood transfusion, ethnic origin and skin colour have no importance in most cases, there are some exceptions. When a person requires frequent blood transfusions, it sometimes becomes necessary to find a donor whose compatibility with the recipient goes beyond that of ABO group. In these situations, the more a donor and recipient share in terms of genetic makeup, the better the chances of success.

“It’s time, the theme of this 22nd edition, reminds us that the time has come to maintain a blood supply that better reflects the cultural mosaic of Québec. It’s time for all Québec citizens to embrace this collective resource,” stresses Dr. Jean De Serres, President and CEO of Héma‑Québec. “The role played by Black communities is crucial to accomplishing our mission, specifically that of meeting the specific needs of patients of all ethnic origins.”

Blood donation, an act of solidarity

As part of the activities surrounding the event, a blood drive organized by the Table Ronde du Mois de l’histoire des Noirs (Black History Month round table) will be held on February 16. Some 50 donors are expected between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Centre d’éducation des adultes, located at 2515 Delisle Street in Montréal. For a brother, a cousin, a neighbour, donors of all backgrounds are invited to show their solidarity by giving blood. For all questions regarding eligibility for blood donation, call 1-800-847-2525.

About Héma-Québec 

Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, optimal blood components, substitutes, human tissues and cord blood to meet the needs of all Quebecers; to provide and develop expertise along with specialized and innovative services and products in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation.

Héma-Québec encompasses 1,300 employees, over 300,000 donor visits to blood drives per year, 16,000 volunteers and more than 500,000 blood products delivered annually to Québec hospitals to meet the needs of patients.

Give blood. Give life. 

- 30 –


Media Line | 514-832-0871