'Become a lifesaver': Versiti Blood Center encouraging donations during Black History Month

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – With Black History Month underway and Valentine’s Day nearing, Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin is encouraging people to give the gift of life.

A blood drive and organ donation registry event was held at the Lamb of God Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, Feb. 13 in Milwaukee.

Organizers wanted to reach out to the African American community and encourage everyone to help save a life.

“I know that right now the blood banks in the state of Wisconsin are running low on blood,” 12th Assembly District State Rep. LaKeshia Myers said.

Myers received a kidney transplant in 2019.

“I understand what it’s like to go through that process,” she said. “We all have a part of play in this. As African Americans in our community, we suffer from diseases that cause organ failure, however, we do not donate at the rate that I think we should. There should be far more African American donors.”

Currently, more than 110,000 Americans are waiting for an organ donation.

“In the state of Wisconsin, 1,700 people are on that list and then you break that number down you start talking specifically African Americans, over 400 African Americans in the state of Wisconsin are on that list,” Versiti Community Outreach Manager Tonnie Boston said. “It is absolutely important that we register to be organ and tissue donors.”

Organizers said Saturday’s drive had a good turn out, but there’s a constant need.

“We are talking about donating for your own community and your own good,” Myers said.

February 14 marks National Donor Day. Versiti encourages anyone interested in donating to register online.

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