PEORIA- One local girls basketball team is taking action in the name of Black History Month.
The young women of the Journey to Empowerment through Motivation and Self-esteem group (JEMS), partnered up with the Red Cross Saturday to host a blood drive.
The Red Cross says, "certain blood types are more common in some ethnic groups than others."
It says about "70 percent of African Americans have type O or B blood, the types that are typically the first to run out during a shortage. Additionally, 98 percent of all sickle cell disease occurs in people of African American decent. Since the disease is often managed through regular blood transfusions, African-American blood donors can provide blood that is a closer match to patients with sickle cell."
So that's why JEMS says it's trying to bring out more of the African American population, but it's vice president, Holly Nelson says it's a good lesson for the girls, too.
"It teaches them to give back to the community and that's one of our biggest things we are empowering these girls to give back and to teach them now so that when they get of age they will give blood and the importance of giving blood and the importance of giving back," Nelson said.
This is the fourth year that JEMS has hosted a blood drive. This year they had more than 120 people donate, which is more than double last year's number.
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