SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (The Daily Dish) – In honor of Black History Month, the American Red Cross is partnering with organizations such as the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the NAACP to encourage blood donors to give in recognition of this special month. Over 100,000 people in the US, mostly of African descent, suffer from sickle cell disease, which requires regular blood transfusions. Black donors are particularly important, as 51% have type O (positive or negative) blood, which is often in high demand and critical supply.

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects the shape of red blood cells, making it difficult for blood to flow and carry oxygen to the body. This can cause severe pain, organ damage, anemia, and even strokes. Patients with sickle cell disease require regular blood transfusions, but frequent transfusions can make finding compatible blood types difficult.

African American blood donors have a one in three chance of being a match for those with sickle cell disease, which is why the American Red Cross is working with Black community partners to increase the number of Black donors. In the first year of the Sickle Cell Initiative, the number of first-time African American blood donors increased by 60%.

The American Red Cross encourages everyone to commemorate Black History Month by donating blood. The need for blood is not limited to patients with sickle cell disease, as someone in the US requires a blood transfusion every two seconds. To schedule a blood donation appointment, visit the Red Cross website, use the Blood Donor App, or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

In conclusion, Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and their impact on our communities. By donating blood, we can help those with sickle cell disease and make a difference in someone else’s life. Give blood this February to show your support and make a difference in your community.