Throughout her ten years as a member of the Red Cross workforce, Barbara Mariscal witnessed the importance of blood donations time and time again, but the Monterey Park shooting in January of 2023 – a horrific disaster that utilized the Red Cross blood bank – demonstrated why blood donations are so critical, especially from Type O donors.
During an emergency there isn’t always time to screen for a patient's blood type, forcing medical personnel to reach for Type O blood. Since O negative is the universal donor, it can be given to anyone, while O positive is the most common blood type and relied on heavily by hospitals and trauma centers.
For these reasons, donations from the Latino community are highly sought after, as 57% of the Latino population has Type O blood (compared to 51% of African American and 45% of Caucasian populations). Consequently, the Red Cross has a nation-wide Latino blood donor campaign to increase Latino contributions and bank more Type O blood.
A Latina herself, Mariscal recently donated in support of the Latino blood donor campaign. Though terrified of needles, Mariscal still donates – always in the company of a friend for support and distraction.
Mariscal wants fellow Latinos to know that donating blood is a relatively easy process and a great way to give back to their community. The donation process includes a health screening that can take up to 30 minutes, while the donation itself takes only about 10 minutes, followed by a 10–15-minute rest period where juice boxes and a wide selection of snacks are provided for free. Donors can also track their donation with the Red Cross blood app from a smartphone.