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Blood Alliance Diversifies Stock With Hispanic Heritage Drive

The Blood Alliance

Jacksonville lawmakers and local health officials are turning to an unlikely activity to spur community involvement.

The Blood Alliance and Walgreens will host the city's First Annual Hispanic Heritage Community Blood Drive on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Jacksonville Landing in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Odette Struys, spokeswoman for The Blood Alliance, said only 2 percent of all 2012 donors were Hispanic, 1.8 percent were Asian, and 7 percent were African-American. She said the idea for the event was to get everyone, not just Hispanics, to donate more blood.

“We’re in a city of diversity,” Struys said. “We need to have that blood pool match our diverse population.”

The Blood Alliance is the sole provider of blood for hospitals in Northeast Florida, and must receive 360 donors a day in order to meet demands from more than 40 hospitals and medical facilities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Betsy Santiago, special assistant to Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, said the event is designed to engage and celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, while bringing the community together to do some good.

“We’re using it as a means to increase education awareness about the need to participate in your community,” Santiago said, “and blood donation is absolutely on the top of the list.”

All donors who register between now and January 11 will be entered into a drawing for a chance to receive one of several prizes, including tickets to Jacksonville Jaguars games and a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, courtesy of Nimnicht Chevrolet.

Struys said the event will have three bloodmobiles, plenty of live entertainment, a singing competition and a dance challenge with Fred Astaire Dance Studios.

According to the Blood Alliance, if everyone gave two pints of blood per year there would be no blood shortages and fewer lives lost.

“Be a hero to someone here, locally,” Santiago said of Saturday's event.

Donation appointments can be made by visiting The Blood Alliance online at or by calling  888-99-TBAHERO (888-998-2243).