WVON Radio personalities were out in various communities, last Saturday, urging people to donate blood. Because there has been low response in the black community, the station, along with LifeSource, felt this effort might help save lives.

The station’s president/CEO is Melody Spann Cooper and she and her staff have been instrumental in disseminating potentially life-saving information, especially in the black community. The information includes financial seminars, the annual Breakfast of Champions, home foreclosure seminars and health-related issues. WVON Radio has plugged such community-based events since its inception in 1963.

Station personalities included Sanita Jackson at Advocate Trinity Hospital 2320 E. 93rd, Matt McGill and Perri Small at Advocate Mercy Hospital, 2525 S. Michigan, and the “Governor of Talk Radio,” Cliff Kelley, who was in the Austin community at Loretto Hospital, 645 S. Central.

Kelley not only came to Austin, he also participated by donating blood. He told Austin Weekly News, “WVON does a lot of things other then just broadcast. We disseminate information. We are always trying to do something for the community. We are the ones who started health fairs years ago. Once we do something and other people start doing it, then we move on to something else. We’ve had the job fairs; we have had all kinds of things over the years. This is important because, obviously, blood is a life source, so we have joined with LifeSource in order to get African-Americans and others to come out. African-Americans don’t do as much of this as we should.

“It is the same with organ donation. I have commended Secretary of State Jesse White for pushing organ donations because who needs kidneys more than African Americans, with so many people with diabetes and on dialysis. We all need blood and there are certain antigens in the blood of African-Americans – sometimes you really need that for a match. So we need to come out and that is why WVON is pushing this. I’ve given blood before and I’m going to do it again today. Someone asked, ‘Does it hurt?’ I said, ‘I’m not into pain.’ Hopefully this won’t be the last time we do this because we want to make it a regular thing.”

LifeSource Information

LifeSource, Chicagoland's Blood Center, is a non-profit corporation established in 1987 through the merger of the Blood Center of Northern Illinois and the Red Cross Blood Services – Mid America Region. LifeSource is the largest blood center in Illinois and distributes a half-million blood products annually to approximately 60 area hospitals in meeting the need for patient transfusion therapy.

LifeSource operates 22 donor centers, two mobile unit-supported donor centers and conducts an average of 10 mobile blood drives daily. LifeSource recruits donors, collects bone marrow, and draws blood to separate into useful components like: whole blood, platelets, plasma, stem cells and other special products for hospitals and health care customers.