WHAT: Illinois legislation now allows individuals who got a tattoo after Jan. 1, 2010, to skip the previously enforced 12-month waiting period before donating blood as long as they got their tattoo at a business inspected by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“In 2005, I got a tattoo of a Mayan calendar in honor of my Hispanic heritage and I was really disappointed that I had to wait a year to be eligible to donate blood,” said José Sanchez, an information systems technician at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital who is a regular blood donor. “In July 2010, I got a second tattoo featuring the names of my two daughters – Maya and Isabella – and because it is after Jan. 1, 2010, I can continue to give blood."
Sanchez and other hospital staff members at Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital are rolling up their sleeves and donating blood in an American Red Cross blood drive on Friday, Sept. 28.
“Hispanic blood is particularly in need, so I always give when I can,” said Sanchez, who like 57 percent of Hispanics in America is blood Type O, the universal donor. More than 60 percent of the population is eligible to give blood yet fewer than 3 percent in Chicagoland are donors. Less than 1 percent of area donors are Hispanic.
Like Sanchez, Jorge Maldonado, a hospital chaplain, is Hispanic and also is a regular blood donor. "Giving blood for me is easy and it means so much to help others to keep going," said Maldonado, who was also a regular blood donor in his native Chile. "There are so many Hispanics in Chicago. I feel it is even more important for me to give, and I can help whoever may be in need."
Blood is called “the gift of life” because there is no synthetic substitute.
WHO: Jose Sanchez, Jorge Maldonado and nurses, technicians, phlebotomists, physicians and more who care for patients around-the-clock at Loyola University Health System are voluntarily donating their own blood to help those in need.
WHEN: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28
WHERE: Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 701 W. North Ave. Melrose Park, Ill.
MEDIA: Please call Stasia Thompson at (708) 417-5036.
WHY: Capture nurses, doctors and hospital staff donating blood to help others. Learn about changes in blood donation rules including newer Illinois tattoo laws.