February is Black History Month, and in the spirit of Dr. Charles Drew, the first medical director of an American Red Cross blood bank, the Red Cross reminds eligible donors of the importance of a diverse blood supply.
Patients are less likely to have complications from blood donated by someone with the same ethnicity. Prior to transfusion, blood type and Rh factor are matched. Oftentimes additional red cell markers in donated blood must be matched as well. Such markers are determined by ethnicity and best found in a diverse donor base. Donors of all types are encouraged to roll up a sleeve and help save lives. Appointments to give blood can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org.