STATE — National Minority Donor Awareness Day is Sunday, Aug. 1, and New Jersey Blood Services is calling upon the communities it serves to help meet the great need for blood from diverse donors.
Historically, National Minority Donor Awareness Day emphasized minority organ and tissue donation, but blood donation remains the most widely used gift of life. Organ and tissue transplant procedures cannot take place without adequate blood supplies, and many patients have critical, unique blood needs that can only be met by blood donors of the same ethnic or racial background.
Every two seconds, someone needs blood. The community blood supply is a lifeline for you, your family, neighbors, and friends. The tri-state area is one of the most diverse areas in the nation, but the current pool of blood donors does not mirror the diversity of the patient population, blood center officials say.
The blood center’s PreciseMatch® Program is designed to ensure diverse communities have access to the most precisely matched blood products whenever patients might need them. Some chronically transfused patients, such as those with sickle cell disease, thalassemia, cancer or leukemia, pregnant women and newborn babies, can build up antibodies following frequent transfusions over time. These patients may then begin to “reject” the standard blood transfusion or have a bad reaction.
More precisely-matched transfusions are then required, from someone who has inherited the same antigens, or markers, in their blood. Like eye color, or other inherited characteristics, this “precise match” or rare blood is most often found in someone from the same ethnic or racial background.
To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org
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