The Red Cross provides about 40% of our nation’s blood and blood components, all from generous volunteer donors. But supply can’t always meet demand because only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly.
Community blood drives are critical to maintaining a healthy blood supply in the U.S.—especially while many offices and schools remain closed due to the pandemic. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, from accident victims to children battling cancer to mothers giving birth. Healthy volunteer donors are the key to helping save lives.
The American Red Cross has a critical need for African American blood donors to help patients battling sickle cell disease following a significant decrease in diverse donors amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Right now, the Red Cross is asking for your help to address a critical need for African American and Black blood donors for two reasons:
African American and Black blood donors have a unique ability to help sickle cell patients. Blood transfusion is the most common treatment for sickle cell disease. Without a readily available blood supply, patients with sickle cell disease can experience severe pain, tissue and organ damage, acute anemia and even strokes.
Blood must be closely matched between the donor and patient to reduce the risk of complications. The closely matched blood will most likely be from a blood donor of the same race or ethnic group. You can learn more about the importance of African American and Black donors for patients with sickle cell disease at RedCrossBlood.org/SickleCell.
Red Cross blood drive cancellations—mostly due to the pandemic—have significantly impacted the ability to collect lifesaving blood donations from the Black community. Unfortunately, disproportionately high COVID-19 infection rates, hospitalizations, and fatalities within Black communities have deterred many donors from giving—and the cancellation of drives at educational institutions and businesses where most of these individuals give has made the problem worse. The need for Sickle Cell products remains high despite these difficulties.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives.