The American Red Cross urges people of all races and ethnicities to give blood or platelets to help increase the diversity of the blood supply. The vast majority of blood types fall into one of the major blood groups. However, for patients with rare blood types or those who receive regular blood transfusions, blood must be matched closely - beyond the primary A, B, O and AB blood types - to reduce the risk of developing complications from transfusion therapy.
The best match may be someone of the same racial or ethnic group. Eight-year-old AJ Torres requires blood transfusions to treat complications from sickle cell disease, the most common genetic disease in the U.S. The disease is most common among people of African descent or Latino descent, like AJ, and can sometimes cause small blood vessels to become blocked.