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Monday, June 17, 2024

There is an urgent need for minority blood donors in Indiana

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In Indiana, only around 0.5% of donated blood comes from Black Americans. Doctors with the Indiana Hemophilia & Thrombosis Center (IHTC) are reminding Hoosiers how vital it is to donate blood, especially for those who are part of a minority community. 

Blood transfusions are often needed for patients with cancer, anemia, organ transplant recipients and for blood diseases that often affect African Americans and other minorities, such as sickle cell disease.

To assist with minority blood supplies, IHTC’s CASCADE program, Martin Center Sickle Cell Initiative, Versiti Indiana Blood Center and Be the Match are hosting a minority blood drive Sept. 9.

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and it is extremely important for a patient to receive blood that is similar to their own. It is not enough to match up the letter type of their blood.

Anyone can have sickle cell disease, but those with ancestors from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, India, Mexico, or Central or South America are more likely to have it.

Each ethnic background has markers in their blood, called antigens, that make each blood type unique. Those with the same ethnic background are likely to have the same antigens.

If a patient receives  blood from a donor who has different antigens, their body may see that blood as an invader it needs to fight off.  Blood that closely matches that of a patient is less likely to be rejected and can mean fewer complications after a transfusion.

The Indianapolis Minority Blood Drive is Sept. 9 from 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. inside the Versiti Bloodmobile that will be located at the Martin Luther King Center, 40 W. 40th St.

You can register via email at cheeter@ihtc.org.

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