The American Red Cross urges people of all races and ethnicities to give blood to help ensure a diverse blood supply for patients in need. The vast majority of blood types fall into one of the major ABO groups. However, some blood types are unique to certain racial and ethnic groups, so a diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of an increasingly diverse patient population.
Twelve-year-old Braden Green required blood transfusions to treat complications from sickle cell disease. “It saved his life, that blood transfusion,” said his mom, Brenda Green. “A blood donation can give a patient another chance at life or an opportunity to get through the day.” Blood given to patients with rare blood types or those who need repeated transfusions for conditions such as sickle cell disease or thalassemia must be matched very closely. Patients are less likely to have complications from blood donated by someone with a similar racial or ethnic background.