23rd edition of Black History Month – Héma-Québec reiterates its appeal to Black communities

Montréal, January 31, 2014 – Héma-Québec is once again marking Black History Month in an ongoing effort to diversify the collective blood supply and reiterate the importance of the contribution of Black communities.

Since 2009, Héma-Québec has focused a great deal of energy on recruiting new donors from these communities, even developing an awareness-raising campaign specifically designed for them. Close to 2,300 donors have answered the call since the campaign began.

Up to now, these efforts have enabled Héma-Québec to meet half of the objective, collecting roughly a hundred donations from donors in the Black community each month. Despite these improvements, however, the contribution from this population remains a major challenge, with Black donors making up less than 1% of total active donors in Québec.

In terms of blood transfusion, ethnic origin and skin colour don't matter in most cases; but there are exceptions. When a person receives frequent blood transfusions, it sometimes becomes necessary to find a donor whose compatibility with a recipient goes beyond A, B, AB and O blood groups. In these situations, the more a donor and recipient share in terms of genetic makeup, the better the chances of success.

This year, Black History Month organizers chose a quote by Nelson Mandela to mark the event: “We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.” This sentence certainly applies to the collective blood supply, since without the contribution of the entire Québec community, many patients would be unable to regain their health.

A blood drive event

As part of the activities to mark Black History Month, 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 15. Forty 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.

One thousand blood donations are needed every day in Québec, regardless of ethnic origin. Each donation saves several lives. For any questions regarding eligibility for blood donation, dial 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. 

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