Red Cross calls for blood donors as unique as the patients they - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Red Cross calls for blood donors as unique as the patients they help

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As a way to honor Black History Month this February, and in the spirit of Dr. Charles Drew, the American Red Cross is asking eligible donors to give blood.

Donors with who the same ethnic background as that of some patients are encouraged to give blood to ensure a sufficient blood supply.

Dr. Drew was an African-American surgeon who was the first medical director of the American Red Cross and a modern blood-banking pioneer.

Blood from a donor with a similar ethnic background as that of the patient is less likely to cause complications, particularly for those patients whose chronic conditions require repeated transfusions. Sickle cell disease is one such chronic condition affecting as many as 100,000 people in the United States.

The red cell markers in donated blood must be matched. The Red Cross says those markers are best found in blood from donors of a similar ethnicity.

All blood types are currently needed to help maintain a diverse and sufficient blood supply, especially types O negative, A negative and B negative.

To learn more about donating blood and the upcoming blood donation opportunities across eastern Iowa visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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