Journalist, Tom Coyne from the Associated Press reports Blood Banks are declaring fewer critical shortages because there is a dwindling demand for blood.  This is a result of fewer elective surgeries and medical advances in the OR curve blood loss.  Nevertheless, people who suffer from Sickle Cell Disease may require life sustaining blood transfusions to treat sickle cell pain crisis and prevent stroke and other complications.   (News Journal, 10/13/2013, Blood banks change approach as the demand dwindles away).
     Sickle Cell disease affects mostly African-Americans in the U.S. but Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the states.  According to the American Red Cross, African-Americans can provide blood which more closely match the blood of these patients.  But, only 1% of African-Americans donate blood while making up 12-14% of the US population.    

    “Under the program, blood donors who identify themselves as being African-American or Black, can have a “blue tag” attached to their blood collection bag.  This indicates that the donated unit of blood may be matched to a patient with sickle cell disease. If a patient with sickle cell disease does not need the blood within 21 days, or if there is not a match, the donated blood will be available for any patient in need.  Blood types O and B, the blood types of about 70 percent of African-Americans, are the blood types most in demand. Your blood donation can help African-Americans suffering from diseases such as sickle cell anemia, cancer and heart disease.”

    Blood Centers of the Pacific reports that African-Americans face other serious medical conditions that may require blood transfusions such as hypertension, kidney disease and premature births.  When blood is closely matched, there is also less chance of developing antibodies from the transufusion which is minimizes the risks for a blood transfusion reaction.  


      Enough said,  Why not Consider being a “Blue Tie Tag Program Donor?  Tell us what are the barriers that prevent the African-American community from donating blood? 


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